Trade Dollars (1873-1885)
The Trade dollar was first minted in 1873 in response to the need for a coin to compete with the Mexican “dollar” (actually the 8 Reale or Peso) in the Orient. Weighing 420 grains, or slightly heavier (1.8%) than a standard silver dollar, the Trade dollar was intended for export only. Despite this, they were legal tender in the United States until 1876, at which time Congress revoked their status. Quantity production continued through 1878, after which point only token quantities were made for proof sets through 1883 (the few pieces dated 1884 and 1885 are of dubious origin). In 1887, the law authorizing the Trade dollar was repealed, and the treasury officially redeemed all un-mutilated pieces.