Image of coins of the GSA hoard used to promote the sale in the 1970's.

The GSA Hoard

           In the mid 1960's, the government was winding down the exchange of silver certificates for silver dollars. After the program was terminated in 1964, the government had a large supply of original mint sealed bags of silver dollars.  The hoard was dubbed the GSA (Government Services Administration) Hoard; they were named this because this was the branch of the government that was in charge of the dispersal of these coins.  The hoard included over 3 million coins, most of which were minted in Carson City Nevada.  Until the discovery of this hoard, CC dollars were thought to be relatively scarce in high grade.  The hoard consisted of mostly CC dollars but approximately 125,000 coins were discovered to be from other mints. These coins ranged in condition from heavily circulated to uncirculated.  The uncirculated non CC GSA coins come in a plastic holder that labels them as "Unites States Silver Dollars" instead of the standard "Carson City Silver Dollar" and can also be found in the soft packs as well.  The GSA hoard contained up to 84% of the entire mintage of some CC dollars. In the table below you can see the mintages of the dates found and the percentage of the total mintage discovered in the hoard. 

 Date  Mintage Number Discovered
 % of Total Mintage in Hoard
 1878 CC
 2,212,000 61,000
 1879 CC
 4,100 .54%
 1880 CC
 591,000  131,500 22.2%
1881 CC
 296,000 147,500
1882 CC
 605,000 53.3%
 1883 CC
 755,000 62.7%
 1884 CC
1885 CC
 228,000  148,300  65%
1890 CC
 2,309,000 3,950
 1891 CC

           The US government had five mail bid sales between October 31, 1972 and June 30, 1974.  These sales limited collectors to only purchase one of each date per household. The 1879, 1890 & 1891 coins sold out rather quickly and the rest of the coins met mild enthusiasm.  As of the last sale date in 1974, the US government still had about one million CC coins left.  The coins lay dormant for several years until in 1979 the president signed legislation to authorize the sale of the remaining coins at a set price. In early 1980, this set price was retracted just a month before the coins were set to sell in another round of mail bid sales due to a run in the silver market.  Originally, the 1980 sale limited the amount of coins per customer to 500 pieces.  However, just thirteen days before the sale began, the number was dropped to thirty-five coins per customer.  The sale ended in July of 1980 after a hectic few months. Below you will find pictures of original paperwork for both sale 3 & 4. Click for a larger view.

                                                Sale 3 Order Form                                                               Sale 4 Order Form

                                     Notice of Unsuccessful Bid                                                         Original Mailing Envelope

1879 CC Packing Slip

GSA Advertising
See our GSA Hoard advertising page.

Cracking out GSA's
After the sales, the coins began to show up at coin shows around the country.  Many of the coins were cracked out of their original holders by coin dealers because they considered them too bulky to transport between shows.  At this time, there were so many coins on the market that they did not carry a premium in the original holders.  The sounds of dealers breaking coins out of the holders could be heard at most major shows, as dealers begun to pack for their trips home.  It was also reported that people saw trashcans full of broken GSA holders at shows as the dealers packed.  With the introduction of third party grading, even more coins were cracked out of their original holders and sent in for encapsulation.  The GSA hoard contained many attractively toned and high grade coins.  Many of these pieces were cracked out of their original holders and encapsulated.

Encapsulation & Grading of GSA's
Both NGC and PCGS attribute coins that were sent to them.  NGC currently uses a stickering system, where the original holders are stickered.  Both companies either currently or have labeled GSA dollars as GSA Hoard pieces in their standard holders.  NGC also grades and encapsulates GSA coins in the soft packs. 
                                                        GSA NGC Graded Soft Pack                                                                                                                CC GSA NGC Graded Plastic Case

                                        Soft Pack GSA with Envelope                                                                                                                                   Non CC GSA Hard Case
GSA Hoard History