Along with the 1870-CC and the 1873-CC, the 1878-CC is one of the three rarest half eagles from the Carson City mint. There are under 100 known with the majority in the VF-EF range. Coins grade Extremely Fine are seldom available and when they do, they tend to have issues involving a conspicuous lack of originality.
This fresh-to-the-market piece is the first 1878-CC half eagle that I have handled in over two years. It is well struck and shows mottled orange-gold and greenish colors on the obverse and the reverse. There is an old obverse scrape between stars seven and eight plus a few minor ticks in the fields. Both sides show some mint luster and the overall eye appeal is excellent for the issue.
Only two PCGS EF40 1878-CC half eagles have crossed the auction block since July 2005. Superior 9/07: 957 was bid up to $8,912 while, more recently, Heritage sold a coin as Lot 6478 in their April 2014 sale for $8,307.
This is a date which is missing from most specialized collections.