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Grading 1873-S, 1874, 1875 and 1875CC Trade Dollars

NSDR Journal

Vol. XVI No. 3

August 1999

Grading 1873-S, 1874, 1875 and 1875CC Trade Dollars

By Randy Campbell, NLG

Reprinted with permission of the author and Coin World.

“The Trade Dollar series” was my immediate response. Why? First, a larger percentage of Trade Dollars submitted to ANACS are counterfeit than is the case with Morgans. Second, relatively less publicity has been given to Trade Dollar counterfeits, making them all the more dangerous. Be Careful!

1873-S (   In my previous articles, I mentioned that “cast counterfeits exist for most dates in the Trade Dollar series.” A few days later a collector asked me “relatively speaking, is counterfeiting a bigger problem in the Morgan Dollar series or the Trade Dollar series?”MINTAGE 703,000)

            XF and AU: the 1873-S is priced as a slightly better date in XF (bid=$155) and AU (bid=$230) condition. The population reports from the three major grading services indicate that ANACS has certified 12 XF examples; PCGS has certified 5 in XF; and NGC has certified only 1 in XF. In AU condition a total of 43 1873-S Trade Dollars have been slabbed by the leading services. A problem free XF or AU 1873-S Trade Dollar is a scarce coin.

Grading Tips In XF and AU: How does ANACS grade an AU Trade Dollar that has been moderately cleaned? Under our problem coin grading problem, an AU-50 1873-S Trade Dollar would be net graded to the value of an XF-40 if it had been cleaned. If the same coin was both cleaned and scratched, it could be net graded to the value of a VF-30.

MS-60 to MS-63: The three major services have certified 22 1873-S dollars in MS-60 or 61; 26 in MS-62 and just 14 examples in MS-63. In his Silver Dollars and Trade Dollars of the United States (1993), Q. David Bowers estimates that approximately 130 to 205 1873-S dollars exist between MS-60 and MS-63. Currently, MS-60 examples are bid at $600 and MS-63’s are bid at $1,150.

Mint State Grading Tip: 1873-S Trade Dollars tend to exhibit average to above average high point detail. If the 1873-S you are examining seems to be very flatly struck, check it carefully for wear on Liberty’s left breast and on the tops of both of the eagle’s wings. Don’t pay uncirculated money for an AU coin!

Recently Seen at ANACS: Both an XF-40 and AU-58 featured an above average strike, with some weakness in the hair over Liberty’s ear. An otherwise pleasing uncirculated 1873-S was downgraded to MS-60 because of annoying hairline scratched on both sides of the coin.

General Comments: Bowers reports (p. 957) that there is no difficulty in locating VF to AU 1873-S dollars. However, in my experience, locating problems free XF and AU examples will take some time.

1874 (MINTAGE: 987,100 Plus 700 Proofs)

XF and AU: The 1874 is priced as a semi-common date in XF (bid=$130) and as a common date in AU (bid=$175). However, the population reports from the major services suggest that this is NOT a common date in XF and AU. In XF, the three major services have certified ONLY SIX COINS! In Au, a total of 34 have been slabbed.

Grading Tips in XF and AU: The Abundance of chopmarked and counterstamped 1874 dollars means that his date is a prime target of those coin doctors who tool and repair coins in a n effort to hide or disguise any problems a coin may have. Darkly toned XF and Au 1874 Trade Dollars should be carefully checked for any sign of repair.

MS-60 to MS-63: This date is somewhat available in the grades MS-60 through MS-63. A total of 85 coins have been certified in those grades by the leading services. Currently, the 1874 is bid at $350 in MS-60 and $1,050 in MS-63.

Mint State Grading Tip: Most uncirculated examples that I have examined featured an above average strike and average abrasions. However, hairlining often is a significant factor with this date. Tilting a coin in different directions under a good lamp and examining it with a magnifier will reveal the severity of any hairline scratches.

Recently Seen at ANACS An AU-58 1874 Trade Dollar exhibited pleasing luster, a sharp strike and just a touch of wear on the highest points of the design. An MS-62 featured a similarly sharp strike, a few bagmarks, some hairlining, and the kind of creamy luster associated with the 1883 Morgan Dollar.

General Comments: David Bowers reports (p. 963) that, during a three month period in 1874, 233,000 Trade Dollars were melted at the Calcutta Mint in India and then recoined into Indian issues! Perhaps this partially explains this date’s surprising scarcity in problem free XF and AU condition.

A few days ago a caller asked me, “What’s happening with Trade Dollar prices?” My one word answer was “up.” The May edition of the Coin Dealer Newsletter Quarterly reports that the ten most common dates are up in very good condition (bid=$56). Increases are noted in the grade of AU (9 dates are sporting plus signs) and in the grade of MS-63 (8 dates are bid to higher levels).

There’s no doubt that rising bid prices reflect increasing interest by collectors in the Trade Dollar series. Indeed, the number of inquiries that I have received recently about this series is the highest it has ever been!

1875 (MINTAGE: 218,200 + 700 Proofs)

Most Trade Dollars struck in 1873 and 1874 were shipped to the Orient. However, it seems likely that most of the 1875 Philadelphia issues remained in the United States (the scarcity of chopmarked examples tends to support this theory). Domestic demand for the Trade Dollar was low. Perhaps this accounts for the very low mintage of just 218,200 pieces.

EF and AU: The 1875 is priced as a much better date in EF (bid=$325) and AU (bid=$575) condition. The population reports from the three major grading services indicate that only ten 1875 Trade Dollars have been certified in EF, while 30 have been slabbed in AU.

Q. David Bowers estimates that, “between 750 and 1,500 coins are believed to exists in grades from VF-20 to AU-58” (page 973). However, I believe the 1875 is even scarcer than that! I would estimate that no more than 250-350 1875 Trade Dollars have survived in problem free EF and AU condition. They are scarce!

Grading Tips in EF and AU: There is a significant price difference between EF bid and AU bid with this date. Thus, collectors should insist that any 1875 offered to them at AU prices must have at least two-thirds to three-quarters of its original luster still intact. Such coins also should be free of major cuts and scratches.

Mint State 60 to MS-63: The three leading grading services have certified 15 1875 Trade Dollars in MS-60 or 61; another 15 in MS-62; and 20 examples on MS-63. This tends to support Bower’s estimate that between 155 and 265 exists between MS-60 and MS-63.

Currently, the 1875 is bid at $1,000 in MS-60 and $1,500 in MS-63. Collectors may have to pay well over bid levels to obtain a certified Mint State 1875 Trade Dollar.

The most amazing Mint State Trade Dollar known to exist bears the date 1875. This incredible coin was graded MS-68 by Professional Coin Grading Service!

Mint State Grading Tip: uncirculated 1875 Trade Dollars usually have an above average strike and pleasing luster. Examples with poor luster should be checked for evidence of repair and/or cleaning. The most recent 1875 that crossed my desk was,, indeed, a Mint State example that had been moderately cleaned. ANACS assigned a net grade of AU-50 to that coin.

1875-CC ( MINTAGE: 1,573,700)

The 1875-CC has the highest mintage of any Carson City Trade Dollar issue. It is the most readily available CC Trade Dollar in Grades ranging from VF through MS-62.

EF and AU Although relatively common, the 1875-CC is priced as a slightly better date in EF (bid=$175) and AU (bid= $215) condition. In EF the three major grading services have certified 38 coins. In AU, they have slabbed 100 examples.

Grading Tips in EF and AU: The 1875-CC exists in quantity with chopmarks. Such coins may be repaired, re-engraved and then covered with thick artificial toning (in an attempt to disguise the repair). Darkly toned examples of this date should be viewed with suspicion.

Mint State 60 to MS-63 The three leading services have certified 76 examples in MS-60 or MS-61; 40 in MS-62; and 31 in MS-63. Currently, it is bid at $500 in MS-60and $2,000 in MS-63. Somewhat paradoxically, only 2 1875*CC dollars have been certified in MS-65!

 Mint State Grading Tip: Some uncirculated 18750CC dollars display a below average strike on the hair on Liberty’s head. Don’t confuse a lack of detail with actual wear. A Mint State, flatly struck coin should have consistent, even, luster on all areas of the head.

Recently Seen at ANACS: A choice, well struck, 1875-CC that would have graded AT LEAST MS-62 was net graded AU-50 because of significant cleaning. Also, a majority of the circulate 18750CC dollars I have seen in the last several months have been cleaned, much to the coin’s detriment. Cast counterfeits exist from this date.

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