Gold: $2344.40  |  Silver: $27.96

While most silver dollars listed here on Coin Values were intended for circulation in the United States, Trade silver dollars weren’t. In fact, they were produced with the sole purpose of international commerce and were supposed to compete against other large-size silver coins involved in Asian trade. China was growing as a world economic power in the Pacific, and trade was ordinarily backed with the exchange of large silver coins.

However, China was very particular about the types of silver coins they would accept for trade. Standard U.S. silver dollars are about 0.5 grams lighter than the Spanish Dollar and Mexican Peso, which were two of the silver coins that were most commonly utilized for international commerce with Asia at the time. Making matters all the harder was that U.S. businesses involved in trade with Asia would have to exchange U.S. dollars for Mexican Pesos or Spanish Dollars before completing a transaction with the Chinese.

Amid lobbying by U.S. merchants and representatives of the silver mining industry, the U.S. government approved of the creation of Trade silver dollars, which are heavier than standard United States silver dollars; coins like Morgan and Peace dollars weigh in at 26.73 grams and .7734 ounces of silver versus 27.22 grams and .7874 ounces of silver for the Trade silver dollars.

Dozens of different Trade silver dollars were made, counting all the different die varieties. Here’s a rundown of the basic business-strike and proof Trade silver dollar issues:

  • 1873, 397,500 minted; $115

  • 1873-CC, 124,500; $250

  • 1873-S, 703,000; $115

  • 1873 proof, 865; $10,250

  • 1874, 987,800; $125

  • 1874-CC, 1,373,200; $260

  • 1874-S, 2,549,000; $120

  • 1874 proof, 700; $10,250

  • 1875, 218,900; $150

  • 1875-CC, 1,573,700; $250

  • 1875-S, 4,487,000; $110

  • 1875-S/CC, mintage include above; $220

  • 1875 proof, 700; $15,000

  • 1876, 456,150; $120

  • 1876-CC, 509,000; $250

  • 1876-S, 5,227,000; $110

  • 1876 proof, 1,150; $10,250

  • 1877, 3,039,710; $120

  • 1877-CC, 534,000; $260

  • 1877-S, 9,519,000; $110

  • 1877 proof, 510; $10,250

  • 1878, 900 (proof only); $11,000**

  • 1878-CC, 97,000; $425

  • 1878-S, 4,162,000; $110

  • 1879, 1,541 (proof only); $10,250**

  • 1880, 1,987 (proof only); $10,250**

  • 1881, 960 (proof only); $10,250**

  • 1882, 1,097 (proof only); $10,250**

  • 1883, 979 (proof only); $10,250**

  • 1884, 10 (proof only); $650,000**

  • 1885, 5 (proof only); $3,000,000**

*Values listed are for coins in a grade of Good 4, unless otherwise noted.

**Value for Proof-65 specimen, as is the case for all proof specimens listed here.

Trade Silver Dollars for Sale

Carson City Trade silver dollars are generally the rarest and most expensive, whereas the business-strike Philadelphia and San Francisco (S) mint dollars are usually the most common and have the lowest values, on average. You’ll see, however, that the latter Philadelphia issues were struck only as proofs, and those are very rare and expensive coins.

Don’t let the Trade dollar mintages fool you. Sure, a few issues – including some Carson City pieces – saw more than 1 million pieces struck for a given year. But countless Trade dollars were melted down decades ago, and relatively few of most dates still survive. Since most of the latter Trade dollars are extremely rare anyway, this series is generally not collected as a complete series and is often purchased as a type coin. The 1875-S, 1876-S, and 1877 Trade dollars are the most commonly purchased pieces for type sets.

Given the overall scarceness of Trade silver dollars, you should be very cautious of buying any “raw” Trade dollars. Many of the raw Trade dollars on the market today (especially those being sold on eBay) are Chinese counterfeit coins that are made with common base metals and are unfortunately quite deceiving to some people. So, unless you feel pretty confident about your ability to pick out an authentic coin, it’s best to only buy graded and slabbed Trade dollars in sonically sealed plastic holders from reputable third-party coin grading firms like the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC), or ANACS (American Numismatic Association Certification Service).

Beware that many Trade dollars have what collectors call “chopmarks” or monogrammed insignias that were cut into the coins by Chinese bankers and merchants. While some people intentionally collect these visually interesting, chopmarked coins, some numismatic purists consider such coins as altered (damaged) and prefer to stay away from such pieces. Obviously, the choice is yours when it comes to rather or not you should collect Trade silver dollars with these distinctive markings. However, beware you may have a harder time getting a full price on a chopmarked dollar versus an original Trade silver dollar without chopmarks when it comes time to sell your coins.