1884 Trade Dollar – Do You Need This In Your Collection?

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Written By Natasha Jones
I'm Natasha Jones, an avid collector of coins, stamps, and paper money. My passion drives me to seek unique finds, from antique shops to international exchanges. I enjoy connecting with fellow collectors through forums and meet-ups, sharing discoveries and insights. Collecting, for me, is about preserving history and building a community around this shared interest.

If you are someone who has been reading this blog, you would know about our do you need this in your collection series.

It feels weird to write this article knowing that getting this coin into your collection is extremely hard. So, I have answered the question already.

However, even if getting our hands on this coin is hard, we can still learn and wonder about its beauty.

1884 Trade Dollar:


The rarity of the 1884 Trade Dollar

With a mintage of only 10, the 1884 Trade dollar is one of our rarest coins. However, questions continue to arise about this and other rare coins. For a long time, we just took a lot of things as given. It was the covert creation of a Mint that wasn’t completely against making some money on the side.

It’s likely that several significant patterns and rarities weren’t regular Mint output but were custom-made for influential individuals.

Some have questioned the legitimacy of such coins on occasion, but the fact remains that the hobby has accepted them for years and that the 1884 Trade dollar is one of the world’s most prized coins because of its extreme rarity.

Over the years, scattered references to the 1884 Trade dollar seem to indicate it had a mintage of 264 rather than the long-accepted 10.

Historical Context

Treasury sheets from the time discovered by researcher Arlie Slabaugh further support the 264 estimates. It’s important to remember that the Trade dollar was not formally abolished in 1884.

It was struck in earlier years, but beginning in 1879, only proof examples were struck, with the mintage set by the number of requests received by the Mint. Therefore, it would not have been entirely illegal to issue a Trade dollar in 1884.


However, this number is at odds with what is known, as the survival rates of proof coins from this era are notably higher than average. Considering these two numbers, how many 1884 Trade dollars were minted is unclear.

There may be no satisfactory response to that inquiry. Unfortunately, 264 is for an entire fiscal year. There is also evidence to suggest that some 1837 or 1836 dollar coins were recoined in 1837.

There are no known 1837 dollars, but 1836 dollars do exist, and the special Gobrecht dollar was restruck for many years, so it’s possible that they could be traded for the 1884 and 1885 Trade dollars that were struck to reward the Mint’s most loyal patrons.

The 264 reported dollars could have been issued in 1883, and the recoined dollars may hold the key to understanding what happened with the five 1884 trade dollars and the three known 1885 trade dollars.


We may never know for sure unless we discover additional information. Since the small “recoining” would allow their production while their actual dates remained a mystery, this seems like the most likely way to explain the 1884 and 1885 Trade dollars.

We know that Trade dollars from 1884 and 1885 are extremely rare, with the value of the latter coin approaching $1 million.

Collectability and Value

Due to its extreme rarity, the 1884 Trade Dollar commands a high value in the numismatic market. The value of each specimen can vary significantly based on its condition, but they are all considered incredibly valuable.

Auction records for these coins have shown prices reaching million of dollars, reflecting their desirability among collectors.

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