About Trade Dollars (Chop Marks)
Trade dollars were struck from 1873 through 1885 and specifically intended to circulate in Asia alongside other similarly sized silver coins from other nations. Trade dollars were legal tender in the United States, but their status as freely circulating legal-tender coins was modified over the years as silver prices and other economic factors influenced the situation.
William Barber designed the Trade dollar, which portrays a seated Miss Liberty on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse. Often, circulated Trade dollars are found with various Asian merchant marks, which are colloquially referred to as "chop marks" by many in the coin realm.
The most common Trade dollars are those from the mid 1870s. In 1879, the United States Mint began striking Trade dollars only in proof, and these issues are quite scarce, with the 1885 as the rarest with a mintage of just 5 pieces. While dealers and collectors should be wary of encountering forged examples of any coin, Trade dollars are especially notorious for being counterfeited. Raw specimens of any date and grade should be scrutinized carefully before purchase.
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