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Trade Dollars

United States Trade Dollar Coins

To compete with large silver coins that were favored in East Asia, mainly China, the United States Mint began to produce the Trade dollar. The coin was designed by William Barber and was struck for circulation between 1873 and 1885. The minting of the Trade dollar came about by the Coinage Act of 1873 and Congress made the coin legal tender up to five dollars. When the coins were first struck in 1873, most of them were sent to China, to compete with silver coins from other countries. In 1876 a new reverse design was created to commemorate the 100 year independence anniversary. But officials at the mint turned the design change down because they thought the Chinese might not approve causing them to discontinue using the coin.