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1875 Trade Dollar
There are many good Trade dollar dates and nearly everyone was produced at the Carson City Mint. The main exception is the 1875 Trade dollar. If you aren’t familiar with the history of Trade dollars, they have a very colorful history.
It was not issued to be used in this country. Rather it was produced to spur trade with China at the time of its issuance. Merchants in the Chinese port cities wanted large silver coins in payment for their goods. Ultimately the Trade dollar did not catch the fancy of Chinese merchants.
The millions of Trade dollars that were sent to China have never returned to the U.S. The Trade dollar had a total mintage of about ten million and only eight dates topped a million in mintage numbers. This means that there are not very many examples in this country.
Another factor that affected the Trade dollar was its revocation as “legal tender” in 1876. This meant that legally a Trade dollar was no longer an official U.S. coin. Rather it was a silver coin at 420 grains of .900 silver. The problem became that silver prices dropped falling below 90 cents. The value of the silver was less than the face value of the Trade dollar.
After much protest, the government was forced to redeem undamaged Trade dollars at their face value. The coins that were redeemed were melted down as a result of legislation passed in the early 1890s. In the midst of all of this confusion we have the 1875 Trade dollar. It had a very low mintage of 218,900 pieces.
The 1875 Trade dollar was produced at the Philadelphia Mint, rather than at the Carson City Mint. There are not many examples of this elusive date in circulated grades. This coin is one of the least seen dates among the major coin grading companies.
No one knows what has made this coin so elusive. Population reports would indicate that the coin is a better buy than many collectors would expect it to be. One thing you have to be aware of if you are going to collect Trade dollars. There are many fakes and counterfeits out there to confound a collector. Needless to say, most of the counterfeits are coming from China.
If you are going to collect Trade dollars, you are going to have to determine what is a counterfeit coin and what is a real one. You are going to have to educate yourself on this matter.
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