From the mid-to-late 19th century, Chinese merchants accepted only old-style Mexican Pesos in trade with foreign merchants and countries. The standard United States Silver Dollar was lighter than these coins and, as such, could not compete with other governments in the lucrative Oriental trade.
In 1873, at the same time the US abolished the standard Silver Dollar and placed the nation on a virtual gold standard, Congress authorized production of a new silver coin that would be competitive in the Orient.Trade Dollars at .900 fine silver and most significantly, a weight of 420 grains versus the standard weight of 412 ½ grains was 1.8% greater than that of the standard Silver Dollar and deemed to be equal to that of the favored Mexican Peso which Asian merchants preferred.
Designed by William Barber, the first Trade Dollars arrived in the Orient in October 1873, where most merchants immediately determined that they were composed of good silver and were actually heavier than the more familiar Mexican Peso and European crowns. Most of the merchants used various characters, counter stamps or “chop marks” to indicate their acceptance. The denomination proved a success in its intended role; however its controversial position in domestic
circulation precluded the Trade Dollar from being a long-lived series.
The Mint Act of February 12, 1873 referred to by some as President Grant’s “Crime of 1873” – included a provision giving Trade Dollars legal tender status for all payment only up to five dollars. The ensuing worldwide decline of silver prices meant that these coins become worth more as circulating currency than as bullion and a glut of “chop marked” examples soon clogged commercial channels in California. By 1876, the situation had become so serious that Congress had no alternative but to revoke the legal tender status of the Trade Dollar.
Production of examples for use in the Far East, however, continued for two additional years. In 1878, the Philadelphia Mint struck only proof versions of the Trade Dollar while San Francisco and Carson City still struck business strikes intended for circulation.
Interestingly, to appease collectors of the day from 1879 through 1885 the Philadelphia mint struck proof only versions. Although not popular during their original release, high-quality Trade Dollars are eagerly sought out by collectors and investors today.
National Coin Broker is proud and excited to offer to our clients, a historic and exciting grouping of prized Trade Dollars. Truly for the connoisseur, very choice and better original mint state Trade Dollars are extremely difficult to locate and are highly recommended. All Trade Dollars struck within the Proof format are extremely popular with collectors and investors today. Coins which are as miraculously preserved as our present offering is truly amazing!
All of the proof only Trade Dollars also possess enormous investment potential and many feel are still grossly undervalued in the present market. All one has to do is look at the meager supply that is available which is not nearly enough to supply the many thousands of collectors desiring a single coin or having designs on completing a collection. Please contact Ross C Baldwin for availability and individual pricing for these unique and historic numismatic relics.