U.S. Trade Dollar Gets a New Life

29 Aug 2018  Wed

East India Company Bullion Ltd. had introduced a 5-coin Trade Dollar Collection series to honour coins from Great Britain, the United States of America, France, Japan and China, that influenced trade in Asia. The second coin in the series was recently released as a tribute to the American trade dollar.

Although American Trade Dollars were a failure as it could not serve its purpose of increasing trade with Asia, it is one of the most popular coins today because of its short lifespan and rarity. The original 27.2 grams.900 fine silver coin, designed by William Barber was struck from 1873 to 1885.

The Mexican 8-real coins were the most popular trade coins during that time. The US started trading with China for tea, spices, textiles, and chinaware on a large scale and there was a big demand for a U.S. Trade dollar to compete with other silver trade coins. However, the US trade Coins were not very popular among local merchants. The market value of silver reduced and the introduction of Japanese Trade silver dollar in 1875 was a tough competition. Production of Trade Dollars came to a standstill at Philadelphia, Carson City, and San Francisco Mints in 1878. Nevertheless, a limited number of Proof coins were minted every year until 1885. These Proof coins are extremely rare to find and hence are sought after by collectors all over the world.

The obverse of the Niue 2018 U.S. Trade Dollar gold and silver coins features Liberty sitting on hoards of goods, holding an olive branch over the seas, surrounded by an Old-Eastern style decorative border. The obverse of the Proof collector coins depicts an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, along with inscriptions NIUE, ONE DOLLAR and 2018. Like all Proof versions of the series, an arabesque cartouche surrounds the effigy.

The Proof silver version comes in a black presentation case with certificate. The gold version is struck in ultra-high relief and comes in East India Company’s presentation case with a storybook and a numbered certificate. The bullion version is produced for St. Helena. It depicts an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II and the denomination £1.

The BU 1-ounce .999 fine silver £1 coin, Proof 1-ounce .999 fine silver $1 coin and Proof 1-ounce .9999 fine gold $250 coin have a diameter of 38.6 millimetres, 38.6 millimetres and 32 millimetres respectively while a mintage limit of 15,000, 2,500 and 200 pieces respectively. The third release from the series is slated for October 2018 and is going to be a tribute to French Trade Dollar coins.

Image Courtesy: East India Company Bullion Ltd.

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