1884 TRADE DOLLAR
PCGS No: 7064
Circulation strikes: 0
Designer: William Barber
Diameter: 38.1 millimeters
Silver - 90%
Copper - 10%
Weight: 420 grains (27.2 grams)
Mintmark: None (for
Philadelphia) above the D of DOLLAR on the reverse.
There are no official records of any 1884 Trade Dollars having been produced,
although the existence of the coins proves otherwise. Numismatic
legend has it that 10 examples were produced, but the sources of this
information are suspect and there may actually be more.
to reconcile the roster at right with the information from the grading
services is impossible because of resubmissions and grade inflation.
As time goes by, we will make every effort to obtain color photographs of
as many different examples as possible.
PCGS records seven 1884
Trade Dollars in it's Population Report -- one PR-50, two PR-62's, 2
PR-64's, one PR-65 and one PR-67.
NGC records seven 1884
Trade Dollars in it's Census Report -- 3 PR-63's, 2 PR-64's,
one PR-66 (Eliasberg), and one PR-67.
The following article "The
1884 Trade Dollar: A Little History. Was it a Mint 'Deal'" by Farran
Zerbe, appeared in the November 1909 issue of The Numismatist:
Seven of the ten Trade dollars known
to have been struck dated 1884 were sold by one dealer within a few months
at prices ranging from $150 to $400.
The Trade dollar, which for all time will be remembered as one of Uncle
Sam's very few repudiated obligations, had nothing associated with its
coinage to make it of particular interest to the numismatist until a few
months ago when specimens dated 1884 came on the market, and the not
previously known date of this coin has since caused it to be a discussion
of considerable interest.
As to why Trade dollars were coined in 1884 and not entered in the reports
of the mint there is no explanation. That ten pieces, and ten only, were
struck is now an accepted fact. That their existences was surrounded with
mystery and guarded as a secret for almost twenty-five years, is but one
other of the gradually coming to light unexplainable from the old money
mill that stood on Chestnut street, in Philadelphia. Of the ten specimens
recorded as struck, two of them have not been located; of the other eight
specimens, Mr. A.M. Smith has selfishly guarded one for many years;
another collector, unnamed, did likewise, and six were the property of one
man. Not many months ago these six came into the possession of Captain
John W. Haseltine, and then, for the first time, it was a published fact,
with the coin in evidence, that 1884 Trade dollars existed.
When Capt. Haseltine first offered these coins for sale he did not
anticipate fancy prices; in fact, the first one he offered was to a
prominent dealer, who refused to pay $40 for it. Publicity did its part in
creating the collector's appetite, and before one was sold the price
soared to $150 and the record is now $400. After disposing of the lot of
six, the one held by the unnamed collector was recently obtained by Capt.
Haseltine and sold at the record price. One of the first ones sold later
appeared in one of Mr. Ben G. Green's auction sales and brought $280.
That the first one was refused by a dealer for $40 shows how even the
expert may be deceived in the price commanding quality of certain
specimens. The seven specimens sold by Captain Haseltine were distributed
among three collectors.
That the issue of Trade dollars in 1884 was hinted at and doubted is shown
by the following, written by the late Ed. Frossard, a numismatic expert
and authority of his day, and published in his journal - Numismat, March,
"Our critic of the Sandham sale recently, almost openly, insinuated
that Trade Dollars have been quietly manufactured at the Mint during the
present year; in other words, that notwithstanding the positive assertions
of the Mint authorities to the contrary, a Trade Dollar with the date 1884
"We hold that the plain but positive statement of the Mint officers
on this point should be considered conclusive evidence, and they say that
no Trade Dollars have been issued in the Philadelphia Mint, nor in any
Mint of the United States during the present year, or dated 1884.
"But as doubts on this point may still exist in the minds of those
who heard the report, we are authorized to make the following offers: $100
cash each for any number of United States Trade Dollars of 1884, coined at
the Philadelphia or other U.S. Mint; $25 cash down to any one who will
show us such a dollar.
"It is time that absurd and untruthful if not slanderous statements
about so-called 'deals' at the National Mint should cease. The present
management has proved itself most honorable, impartial and just, and no
one has unusual facilities to obtain pattern pieces and proof sets, all
collectors in this respect being treated alike, i.e., what is obtainable
by one at the Mint is obtainable by all.
"It is true that certain dealers and collectors have lobbying friends
in Washington, men who hang about the Coinage and Finance Committee rooms,
also the Treasury department. These men are at times enable to secure
pieces not issued to collectors at the Mint, but with this the Mint
officers have nothing to do. They are required by law to furnish the
Coinage Committee of Congress a certain number of specimens of the pattern
pieces, assays [sic], and regular coinage of each year; what Congressman
do with these is none of their concern. They are no more responsible for
the action of these men than for the laws they frame.
"A careful study of the subject led us long ago to the belief that
all trumped up charges of favoritism in the distribution of pattern pieces
made against the present Mint officers, were either purely malicious, or
arose from a total ignorance of the duties of these officers and of the
rights and privileges enjoyed by the legislative bodies at
In the light of late developments this is somewhat amusing to read. There
must have been so-called 'deals' at the mint.
The Trade dollar was first issued in 1873, and there was a large coinage
at the Philadelphia, Carson City and San Francisco mints each year to
1878, inclusive, excepting that but 900 were coined (proofs) in
Philadelphia in 1878. With the introduction of the "Bland"
[Morgan] dollar in 1878, the coinage of Trade dollars for circulation was
discontinued, but they continued to be coined, about 1000 each year, in
proof, at the Philadelphia mint only, up to 1883 inclusive.
The Trade dollar was not intended for circulation in this country, its
primary purpose being to compete with the Mexican dollar in trade with the
Orient, and for such purpose it was made to contain 420 grains of silver,
while the regular dollar, distinguished as "standard," contains
but 412 ½ grains of silver. During the years that Trade dollars were
numerously coined, coinage of "standard" silver dollars, which
had for years previous been limited, was suspended. In so far as hard
money entered into domestic trade during these years when specie payments
were suspended the Trade dollar was a factor and with the resumption of
specie payments in 1879 it entered general circulation. And when a few
years later Uncle Sam saw fit to set a time when they would cease to be
current and only worth their value for old silver, he repudiated a
contract which he had and continues to have with the holder of every one.
The government received one hundred cents for every one they ever issued,
and notwithstanding they contain more silver than the "standard"
dollar, their value is simply that of old silver, now about 45 cents.
About 36,000,000 pieces were coined. A few years ago it was said the
Japanese treasury had several million of them which came by way of trade
during the years when the price of silver made them a good purchase for
bullion purposes. The Trade dollar was authorized by the Act of February
12, 1873, and while this act was not repealed until February 19, 1887,
none was known to have been coined after 1883 until the 1884's recently
came to light. F.Z."
Images courtesy of Ira
& Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles
The following is a roster of the
ten examples that are known to exist.
1. PCGS Proof-67 (illustrated above).
"Dunham" 06/1941:1150:$315.00 - Stack's "Starr" sale, 10/1992:844 - Jay Parrino
("The Mint"), graded NGC Proof-66 - Goldbergs 10/2000 (now graded NGC Proof-67):1784, $510,600 -
Heritage "New York" 11/2003:8312, not sold
2. NGC Proof-66. Mehl's "Atwater" sale,
3. PCGS Proof-65
(illustrated below). Clint Hester - Numismatic Gallery "Menjou" collection,
06/1950:2040 - Stack's "Farish-Baldenhofer" 11/1955:1039 - Stack's "Fairbanks"
Stack's "Wolfson" 05/1963:1541 - Quality
Sales "Carlson-Shipkey" 11/1976:426 - B&M "Arnold-Romisa"
09/1984:2342 - Stack's "French" 01/1989:201, $72,600.00, subsequently graded Proof-64 by NGC - Anthony
Terranova - Larry Whitlow - Jay Parrino ("The Mint") - Superior 10/2000:3576, now upgraded to PCGS Proof-65 (the prior chain of ownership was
omitted, but the photographs match those in the "Arnold-Romisa"
and "French" sales -- the coin is now white and missing any of the
golden color it appeared to have had at one time), sold for $264,500.00 - Legend
4. PCGS Proof-65.
Mehl "Neil" 06/1947:296 -
Stack's "Pelletreau" 03/1959:1054 - NERCA 11/1975:635 - Hanks
04/1985:351 - Rarcoa "Auction '89":327,
NGC Proof-63, $77,000 -
Superior "Auction '90":1163, "NGC Proof-64", $75,000 -
B&M 05/2004:328, $310,500.00, now in a PCGS Proof-65 holder.
5. NGC Proof-63.
Stack's "A.N.A." 08/1976:723, part of a complete,
assembled Proof set of the year - Joel Rettew - Heritage "A.N.A. Midwinter"
03/1996:6513 - MARCG - Midwest collector (still in this
collection as of September 18, 2000)
6. NGC Proof-63 (illustrated below).
Colonel E.H.R. Green Estate - B.G. Johnson - James Kelly, June 24,
1944, sold for $375.00 - Frank Sprinkle - Stack's "Sprinkle" 06/1988:106, $61,600 - Early American
10/1988:461, "PCGS PR-61" - Rarcoa "Auction
'90":845, $42,000 - Mark Chrans - Stack's "ANA"
03/2002:795, illustrated, called "Brilliant Proof or
slightly finer", with no mention made of the PCGS certification and
grade - B&M "Rarities" 01/2003:569, plated, now graded NGC Proof-63, $138,000.00.
7. Proof. Waldo
Newcomer - Morgenthau 384th sale, 05/1935:431 - Colonel E.H.R.
Green collection - Mehl
"Roe" sale, 06/1945:627 - Mehl's
"Kern" sale, 05/1950:896 - Stack's "Carter" sale, 01/1984:440. In the catalog for
the Bowers and Merena Galleries "The Rarities Sale" (January 2003), this coin is
listed as being Proof-64.
8. PCGS Proof-63. King
Farouk of Egypt - Sotheby's "Palace Collection" sale, 02/1954:1679
- B&M "Norweb" 03/1988:1847, "420.8 grains..." - American Coin
Portfolios - private New York collection - Bowers and Merena Galleries, Inc.
by private treaty, March 20, 1992 - private New England collection, private
treaty, March 23, 1992 - Heritage 04/2002:4131, PCGS Proof-63, $138,000.00
9. Proof-60, cleaned
and hairlined. Mehl "Olsen" 11/1944:997 -
Stack's "Ewalt" 11/1965:42 - Stack's "Emmons" 09/1969:814 - Ivy "A.N.A.
Convention" 08/1980:2643, sold for $30,000 - Rarcoa "Auction '84":1809, $27,500
- Fred L. Fredericks - Superior "Hoffecker" 02/1987:1446A, $26,400 - Superior
"Worrell" 09/1993, Lot 1324, "Proof-60,
cleaned and hairlined...since the Hoffecker sale the coin was dipped and now
appears without toning." - Goldbergs 02/2000:1470.
Rarcoa - World-Wide - Steve Ivy - Robert Marks collection - B&R "Rare Coin Review" No. 15, 1972 - B&R
"Herstal" 02/1974:734 -
Donald Apte and Mulford B. Simons - private Southern collection.
The 1884 Trade Dollar in Stack's
"Anderson-Dupont" 11/1954:2652 (pictured
there) was a silver-plated copper example (Judd 1732). There are 2
known in copper (J1732/P1943), both now silver-plated, one of which last
sold in the Hughes 7/80 sale, the other was given to the Smithsonian acc#
The Mitchelson collection in
the Connecticut State Library also has an example with a staple scratch
running across the obverse. Whether this is a regular Proof or a
silver-plated copper version has not been determined.
Sources and/or recommended
"Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins"
by Walter Breen
"The Louis E. Eliasberg,
Sr." sale conducted by Auctions by Bowers and Merena, Inc., April 6-8,
1997, Lot 2353
Anderson-Dupont" sale conducted by Stack's, November 11-13, 1954, Lot
"The PCGS Population Report,
October 2003" by The
Professional Coin Grading Service
"United States Coins
Census Report, April 2003" by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of
e-mail correspondence from
Saul Teichman, August 15, 2000
e-mail correspondence from Q.
David Bowers, August 15, 2000
The "Pre-Long Beach Sale"
conducted by Superior Galleries, October 1-3, 2000,
Lot 3576 (contains some typographical errors in the transcription of the
pedigree listings from Stack's "Floyd T. Starr" sale)
Telephone conversation with
Jeff Garrett of Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries, Inc. on September 18, 2000