While not as rare and undervalued as its eagle counterpart, the 1877-CC half eagle is a scarce issue that is often overlooked when collectors discuss the tough CC dates from this decade. There were 8,680 struck and most of the surviving examples are well-worn. This piece is among the few that I have seen with natural color and surfaces. The obverse and reverse show rich medium russet color with some red and green undertones and darker hues towards the borders. The fields are unusually clean with no marks of note and the detail is better than expected with especially sharp feathers seen on the wingtips and legs. The last NGC EF45 example of this date to sell at auction was Heritage 4/12: 6621 which brought $5,175; the example I offer here is far more original and it shows much better overall eye appeal.
The 1877-CC is almost as rare as the more highly-touted 1878-CC eagle and it is actually not all that far behind the 1879-CC. I believe that the total known is in the range of 50-60 coins and many of these are in lower grades. The present example is among the more original 1877-CC eagles that I have seen and it is uncommonly choice for the grade with nice color and enough remaining luster to make a strong claim for the AU50 level. A few ticks can be seen in the fields but none are detracting and the overall level of eye appeal is extremely high. I have long believed that this date is highly undervalued and touted it as such as far back as the late 1980's when I wrote the first edition of my book on Carson City gold. In the recent June Long Beach sale, Heritage sold a PCGS Fine-15 example of this date (I graded it VF25) for an amazing $6,325. It hardly seems right that a Choice EF should be worth less than twice as much but that's the current pricing status of the 1877-CC eagle.
CAC has approved two examples of this date in EF45 and none finer. Only two have been approved for the entire issue.
In the early 1990's, a small group of high quality 1877-CC Carson City double eagles was found overseas and repatriated to the United States. They were sold mostly in the Bowers and Merena Stetson auction in 1993 and the present example, I believe, is from this group. It is tied with a small number of other coins as the single highest graded example of this date and it is certainly one of the finest--if not the finest--1877-CC available to collectors. The best feature of this coin is its superb natural deep orange-gold color which is accentuated by darker highlights on the relief areas of the obverse and, to a lesser degree, on the reverse. There are a few light scuffs on Liberty's face and neck; the central reverse shows some abrasions and there is a scrape right below the mintmark that serves as identification. With the popularity of Carson City double eagles reaching an all-time high, coins like this become more and more in demand.