By Mark Ferguson
The coin market has slowed in
the troubled economic environment. However,
compared to other markets, the coin market has
held up well.
As previously reported, off-quality coins
continue to be discounted.
Outstanding high-grade coins, priced fairly, are
still selling well, as are problem-free properly
graded circulated coins. Buyers are having
trouble finding such coins, so prices for some
coins are actually rising in this slower moving
This is especially true in market segments in
which there are life-long collectors who
specialize in interesting series, especially
with varieties. Two good examples are early
copper coins and Capped Bust half dollars.
Another popular series is the Trade dollars.
Although they don’t have an overabundance of
varieties, they are large coins, which are
usually more appealing to collectors than tiny
coins like gold dollars and silver 3-cent coins.
Low-grade circulated Trade dollars have
increased in price by about 10 to 20 percent,
while high-grade Mint State examples have
increased by about a third, with some coins
rising in price even more.
Currently, low-grade circulated Trade dollars in
circulation strikes can be purchased for between
$100 and $150 each. Very worn examples, such as
those graded About Good, and those with small
blemishes, can be purchased for less than $100
Besides its large size, adding to the appeal of
the Trade dollar series, and hence demand, is
that it is a short series lasting just 12 years.
If collectors disregard the Proof-only issues
from 1879 through 1885, just six years of
different date and Mint mark combinations are
needed for a full collection.
The very rare 1884 and 1885 Trade dollars rarely
appear on the market. When an 1885 Trade dollar
turns up on the market, it could sell for a few
Collections of the circulated issues of Trade
dollars are more popular than complete
collections that include the Proof-only issues.
However, other than the 1884 and 1885 rarities,
some of the circulated Proof-only Trade dollars
minted from 1879 through 1883 turn up
occasionally. Retail prices range between about
$1,000 and $3,000 each.
Many counterfeit Trade dollars exist. Buy
certified coins to be safe.