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Denver Coins --> United States Coins --> Obsolete United State coins --> Trade Silver Dollar

Denver Gold and Silver Exchange
5475 Leetsdale Dr Suite 210
Denver, Colorado 80246

Open Monday - Friday from 9 am to 5 pm
Friday 9 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm
Call anytime - leave a message: Main Number: 303-333-1411

Trade Dollar (18731885) (United States coin)

The Trade Dollar was produced in response to other Western powers, such as Great Britain, Spain, France, and particularly Mexico, circulating large, crown size silver coins in Asia. Trade Dollars had a slightly higher silver content than the regular circulation Seated Liberty Dollars and Morgan Dollars, to compete with these foreign trade coins. Most Trade Dollars ended up in Asia during their first two years of production, where they were very successful. Many of them exhibit chopmarks which are counterstamps from Asian merchants to verify the authenticity of the coins. Many trade coins of the western powers and large silver coins from China, Korea, and Japan also bear these chopmarks. While most chopmarked coins are generally worth less than those without, some of the more fascinating chopmarks can actually give the coin a modest premium.

Trade Dollars did not circulate in the United States initially, but were legal tender for up to $5. Things changed, however, in 1876, when the price of silver spiraled downward as western producers dumped silver on the market, making the Trade Dollar worth more at face value than its silver content. That resulted in Trade Dollars pouring back into the United States, as they were bought for as little as the equivalent of 80 US cents in Asia, and were then spent at $1 in the United States. This prompted Congress to revoke their legal tender status, and restrict their coinage to exportation demand only. However, this didn't stop unscrupulous persons from buying Trade Dollars at bullion value, and using them for payment as $1 to unsuspecting workers and merchants.

Production of the Trade Dollar was officially halted for business strikes in 1878, and thereafter from 1879-1885, produced only as proof examples of the coin. The issues of 1884 and 1885 were produced surreptitiously, and were unknown to the collecting public until 1908.

In February 1887, all non-mutilated outstanding Trade Dollars were made redeemable to the United States Treasury, and approximately 8 million of them were turned in.

Collectors are warned that a large number of perfect copies, apparently made in China, have been made. Buying only from known dealers, or certified specimens, is highly recommended.

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