Friday, April 16, 2010

General Services Administration Dollars (GSAs)


First, please remember that we will be closed tomorrow, Saturday 17, due to extreme market fluctuations and the market being closed.

Current spot prices as of 3:30 pm:
Silver 17.77 Gold 1137.70 Platinum: 1695

Today I will be highlighting GSA Dollars; their history and their present day importance are of great interest to many collectors. The history of these dollars and their packaging is quite complex and filled with public controversy. This is one of my favorite coin-related moments in history, and makes for a great story. We are offering some GSA Carson City Morgan Dollars for a special sale price and you can find them in our specials case downstairs!

The story begins with the minting of the Morgan Dollar, which was generally unpopular amongst the public. People were not really willing to carry around these dollar coins on account of their size and weight, so many of the Morgan Dollars minted were put in bags and shipped directly to the US Treasury, where they were held until 1964. It was at this point that the government began liquidating their silver dollars to the public in exchange for Silver Certificate Dollar Bills. During this exchange it was discovered that many Morgan Dollars that had been previously assumed to be rare, such as the 1903-O, were not actually rare at all. In fact, there were many 1903-O dollars being held in the Treasury! This new release of Morgan Dollars forced the coin industry to completely re-think its pricing structure in relation to Morgan Dollars.

After this month-long program closed, the Treasury still was holding thousands of bags of coins. It was at that point that the government decided to transfer custody of the coins to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). It was then that the GSA decided to package the remaining Morgan Dollars, which happened to mostly be Carson City Mints, and sell them using an auction format in 1979.

After all of this commotion, many of these GSA dollars reached the hands of coin dealers. Most of these dealers broke a great many of these dollars out of their GSA holders, as the holders did not add any extra value at the time. Many more were broken out so that the dollars could be sent in to PCGS or NGC, grading companies that opened shortly after the GSA dollars were released. This explains why the remaining supply of Morgan Dollars in their original GSA Holders is special and more difficult to find.

Some GSA Dollars have come to carry quite a premium if they are in their original boxes. One such coin, the 1890-CC, was once owned by Monarch Coin. Our very own President, Paul, distinctly remembers cracking an 1890-CC Morgan Dollar out of its GSA Holder, which turned out to be a $1,000 mistake!

Don’t forget to come by and check out our inventory of GSA Morgan Dollars! You can find a more complete account of the GSA Dollar history here.

Thanks!
Staci

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