Denver Gold and Silver Exchange
5475 Leetsdale Dr Suite 210
Denver, Colorado 80246
Monday - Saturday 10 am to 5 pm
Sundays by Appointment Only
Call anytime - leave a message: Main Number: 303-333-1411
(1873–1885) (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
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
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.