1884 Trade Dollar PCGS PR63

Truly Fabled Rarity

The 1884 Trade dollar is a coin that needs no introduction. Numismatists can quote the number of extant examples and probably relate one or two facts concerning the production and history of this issue. The true story is, however, not widely known. The reason for this is clear: popular numismatic references either state explicitly or strongly imply that this issue was created clandestinely by parties within the Mint, at night, and perhaps at a later date, for coin dealer William K. Idler. However, much of this traditional “wisdom” is erroneous. Archival research proves that the 1884 Trade dollar was struck officially, under the supervision of Mint officials, and recent findings suggest Idler was not the original owner/distributor of the coins.  According to the Fourteenth Annual Report of the Director of the Mint, page 126, there were 264 proof Trade dollars struck in 1884. These coins were delivered to the cashier on January 19. It seems likely that Superintendent Colonel A. Loudon Snowden acquired ten examples from this delivery by exchanging the equivalent amount of coin or bullion for them, a practice that was legal for Mint employees until the 1930s. Shortly thereafter, the Treasury Department sent orders to the Mint forbidding production of proof Trade dollars for sale to collectors and the remaining 254 coins were destroyed. Philadelphia Mint officials later denied any Trade dollars were struck in 1884 and their existence was largely unknown until the early 20th century.

Offered at $420,000 delivered

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