1873-CC Trade Dollar

The United States Trade dollar was first produced in 1873. The purpose of the coin was to help foster American commerce in east Asia.

Chinese merchants and those from nearby countries preferred silver over gold and refused paper money. The dollar-sized Mexican peso contained a bit more silver than the standard U.S. silver dollar and was favored by Asian businessmen.(1)

In response, Congress authorized the production of the U.S. Trade dollar, weighing about 1.8% than the standard U.S. silver dollar. The new dollar was intended for export only.(2)

The Carson City Mint struck 124,500 Trade dollars in 1873. Despite its proximity to the silver mines of the Comstock Lode of Nevada, most of the silver earmarked for trade dollar production was shipped to the San Francisco Mint, where 703,000 trade dollars bearing the 1873-S date were struck. For this sleight of hand, political gamesmanship played a role, in opposition to the newcomer rival mint in Carson City.(3)

In 1873, the folks in Carson City may have felt dejected for losing out on Trade dollar production, but it is their memory that gets the last laugh. The 1873-CC is considered a rarity today and a prized acquisition by collectors. Many years of sustained value increases, with more almost certain to come, have boosted the 1873-CC Trade dollar to a vaunted status, earning a home on the of Key Date List of recommendations.

And the 1873-S Trade dollar? ... Not even close to making the cut.

Estimated survivors in all grades: 500
? The survivor estimate from PCGS represents an average of one or more experts' opinions as to how many examples survive of a particular coin in all grades. Survival estimates include coins that are raw, certified by PCGS, and certified by other grading services.
Learn more at PCGS.
PCGS Rarity Scale: 6.0
? The 'PCGS CoinFacts Rarity Scale' assesses the relative rarity of all U.S. coins, based on estimated surviving examples. The scale runs from 1.0 to 10.0. The higher the number, the rarer the coin.
Learn more at PCGS.
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1. Bowers, Q. David.  The History of United States Coinage.  Los Angeles, CA:  Bowers and Ruddy Galleries, Inc., 1979.

2. PCGS.  Trade Dollars.

3. PCGS.  1873-CC T$1 Trade (Regular Strike).

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Coin images by Stack's Bowers Galleries.