Trade Silver Dollar Values and Prices

How Much Is My Trade Silver Dollar Worth?

1876 Trade Silver Dollar

Heritage Auction Galleries

The United States Mint manufactured Trade silver dollars minted from 1873 to 1885. The United States government intended to issue a coin that would compete with the dollar-sized silver coins of other countries trading with Asia. Originally, they were legal tender in the United States. Still, when silver prices declined, Congress repealed the provision and authorized the United States Treasury to limit coinage production for export only.

Many of these coins were counter-stamped with Oriental characters, known as chop marks. These were placed on the coins by Chinese merchants that already verified the authenticity and fineness of the coin. Therefore, if they saw the coin again, they would not have to test it for its authenticity and precious metal content.

It is a discussion amongst researchers and numismatists if a counter stamp, or chop mark, on a Trade Dollar constitutes a damaged coin. One argument is that these coins were intended to circulate in foreign countries and it was common practice for a merchant to place a chop mark on it. Therefore, many of them are chop marked. On the other hand, a chop mark was imparted on the coin after it left the mint and is thus considered a damaged coin.

History of the Trade Dollar

In the early 1870s, The Treasury Department decided to create a special coin for international commerce. It was initially called the Commercial Dollar and then finally the name was changed to the Trade Dollar. A majority of them were minted at the San Francisco mint and were used in servicing trade with China. The denomination denoted on the coin wasn't as important as the silver contained within the coin. It's the silver content of the coin that gave it value in international commerce.

It was first minted in 1873 and the obverse Is designed by Chief Engraver William Barber. It depicts Miss Liberty seated on a bale of merchandise facing to the left. The reverse features an eagle perched on an olive branch and arrows. Additionally, it had the inscriptions "420 GRAINS. 900 FINE." that indicated to foreign merchants the amount and fineness of silver contained in the coin.

Market Analysis

Most coin collectors only obtain one example of a Trade silver dollar for their type collection. Advanced numismatists may try to assemble a date-mint collection or a more affordable date collection. Over the long-term, the market has been fairly stable. If you want top dollar for your Trade Silver Dollars, you need to sort them and organize them so the dealer can quickly see what you have.

Key Dates, Rarities, and Varieties

The following Trade silver dollars in any condition, are worth considerably more than the common ones that have high mintages.  As such, these coins are frequently counterfeit or altered from common Trade dollars.  Therefore, before you start celebrating your new-found fortune, have the coin authenticated by a reputable coin dealer or third-party grading service.

  • 1878-CC
  • 1884 Proof ^
  • 1885 Proof ^

^ = Only 10 Trade dollars dated 1884 and only 5 Trade dollars dated 1885 are known to exist. These coins are extremely rare and many fakes and forgeries are known to exist.

Condition or Grade Examples

If your coin is worn and looks similar to the one illustrated in the link below, it is considered a circulated coin.

  • Photo of a Circulated Trade Silver Dollar

If your coin looks similar to the one illustrated in the link below and has no evidence of wear due to being in circulation, it is considered an uncirculated coin.

  • Photo of an Uncirculated Trade Silver Dollar

Mint Marks

Trade silver dollars were produced at three different mints: Philadelphia (no mint mark), Carson City (CC) and San Francisco (S).  As illustrated in the picture link below, the mint mark is located on the reverse of the coin, near the bottom just above the words "TRADE DOLLAR".

  • Photo of the Trade Silver Dollar Mint Mark Location

Trade Silver Dollars Average Prices and Values

when determining the value of a coin, you must consider if you are buying the coin for your collection or selling it in order to liquidate your coin. The buy price (what you can expect to pay to a dealer to purchase the coin) and sell value (what you can expect a dealer to pay to you if you sell the coin). The first column lists the date and mint mark (see the photo above) followed by the buy price and the sell value for an average circulated Trade Silver Dollar.  The next two columns list the buy price and the sell value for an average uncirculated. These are approximate retail prices and wholesale values. The actual offer you receive from a particular coin dealer will vary depending on the actual grade of the coin and a number of other factors that determine its worth. The coins listed below that have the "Proof" designation are only available in Proof.

Date & Mint Circ. Buy Circ. Sell Unc. Buy Unc. Sell
1873 $140.00 $90.00 $2,000.00 $1,500.00
1873 Proof $900.00 $600.00 $2,600.00 $1,900.00
1873-CC $470.00 $300.00 $15,200.00 $11,600.00
1873-S $170.00 $110.00 $2,400.00 $1,800.00
1874 $150.00 $100.00 $1,900.00 $1,400.00
1874 Proof $800.00 $500.00 $2,400.00 $1,900.00
1874-CC $380.00 $250.00 $4,500.00 $3,400.00
1874-S $140.00 $90.00 $1,600.00 $1,200.00
1875 $370.00 $250.00 $3,600.00 $2,700.00
1875 Proof $800.00 $500.00 $2,500.00 $1,900.00
1875-CC $330.00 $210.00 $3,600.00 $2,700.00
1875-S $150.00 $100.00 $1,500.00 $1,200.00
1875-S S/CC $440.00 $280.00 $8,700.00 $6,800.00
1876 $150.00 $100.00 $1,600.00 $1,100.00
1876 Proof $790.00 $490.00 $2,400.00 $1,800.00
1876-CC $380.00 $260.00 $14,000.00 $10,200.00
1876-S $150.00 $100.00 $1,500.00 $1,100.00
Date & Mint Circ. Buy Circ. Sell Unc. Buy Unc. Sell
1877 $140.00 $90.00 $1,600.00 $1,200.00
1877 Proof $800.00 $500.00 $2,400.00 $1,800.00
1877-CC $420.00 $270.00 $7,100.00 $5,100.00
1877-S $160.00 $110.00 $1,400.00 $1,100.00
1878 Proof $900.00 $600.00 $2,600.00 $1,800.00
1878-CC * $1,200.00 $800.00 $22,000.00 $17,000.00
1878-S $150.00 $100.00 $1,500.00 $1,200.00
1879 Proof $900.00 $600.00 $2,700.00 $2,000.00
1880 Proof $900.00 $600.00 $2,500.00 $1,800.00
1881 Proof $780.00 $490.00 $2,300.00 $1,800.00
1882 Proof $900.00 $600.00 $2,600.00 $1,900.00
1883 Proof $900.00 $600.00 $2,600.00 $2,000.00
1884 Proof * - - $650,000 $460,000
1885 Proof * - - $3,000,000 $2,200,000
Date-Mint Set

Total Coins: 25 ^
$10,000.00 $7,000.00 $100,000.00 $75,000.00
Date Set

Total Coins: 14 ^
$5,250.00 $3,750.00 $23,500.00 $17,500.00

"^" = Does not include the extremely rare 1884 and 1885 issue.
"-" (dash) = Not Applicable or not enough data exists to calculate an average price
* = See the section above "Key Dates, Rarities and Varieties" for more information on these coins.