Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by IdleHands, Aug 27, 2020.
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Trade dollars were made to facilitate trade with the orient, be careful purchasing them, there are many fakes. A word of caution, (since I assume you are new to silver dollars) buy from a trusted source or buy certified coins....there are many fakes in all series, and coins that have been cleaned or otherwise tampered with that may look good to an inexperienced eye, but they are not good deals.
Welcome to CT and the wonderful world of coins!
Trade dollars were struck from 1873 through 1885.
Trade dollars hold a fairly large collectors premium over morgan dollars, they usually sell for several times higher than morgans and almost always pass the $100 mark. If you are seeing trade dollars at silver value it is likely that they are forgeries.
That's a great question and it is not easy to answer, but to start off, and I am not being a smart-you-know-what here, two working eyes and a working brain--and a magnifying glass. And a scale if you have one. The weights on the fakes are usually wrong. Surfaces often look pitted or "Pimply" indicating they had been cast and not struck. Many fakes that are made of base metal will stick to a magnet whereas silver will not. That's just for starters. Anything that looks "off" should be a red flag. Experience is a good teacher, too.
Best way would be to go to good dealers and buy from them. Unless you want to become an expert in coins and coin forgeries. There is an old saying in numismatics, "if you don't know the coin, know the dealer". Good dealers will vet out the coins and ensure they only sell real coins.
Trade and Seated Liberty dollars are some of the most common fakes out there. Even I, who have been collecting for 40 years, would have to stop and reeducate myself on the series, before I would buy uncertified examples unless I really trusted the dealer.
Several services will authenticate and grade coins. PCGS, NGC, ANACS, and ICG, are generally considered reliable. Buying coins in their holders gives good, though not perfect, protection against fakes.
You might think about adding a Peace Dollar or two (my favorite). They were first produced in 1921, later than what you were asking about, but they are very nice silver dollars and can still be found in the same price range as morgans.
The best way is to study real and fake trade dollars, then only buy certified coins with pictures you can verify on the TPG sites, and only from dealers with a long track record of standing behind what they sell. The worst way is to take an eBay/CraigsList/flea market seller's word for it that their raw Trade dollar is real. There's lots of room in between those two approaches.
Seated Liberty, No Motto, 1840 to 1866
Liberty Seated With Motto (In God We Trust) 1866 - 1873. The Liberty Seated Dollars are much more difficult to locate than the Morgan Dollars.
Morgan Dollars 1878 - 1921 (no coins from 1905 to 1920) There are some minor design changes noted while these coins were issued.
Peace Dollar 1921 - 1935, no coins 1929 to 1933
Trade Dollar 1873 - 1885
Beware of counterfeits. The Chinese have copied all of these coins. You should buy coins only from knowledgable, honest dealers.
Btw OP, I would think the coins that were lost would have been all Morgans. I have had similar recollections by others. I had an uncle who swore he had a bunch of silver dollars from the early and mid 1800s. One day he dug them out and showed me and they were all Morgans from 1878 on.
People have a way of misremembering. Non-collectors think that the older the coin is, the more valuable and important. Collectors know this is false, so do not attach much weight to the date. However, non-collectors see 1880 and think that is really old, then in their mind somehow make them older and older to make them more "important".
In other words, I think the Morgans are a great idea, and its highly likely that unless he was a collector those are what were lost. Morgan's are 100/1000 times more common than the other older silver dollars.
It's extremely kind of you to do what you are doing. Nothing can replace what was stolen but this comes as close as anything possible.
Welcome to CT and best wishes.
Just about every Morgan Dollar and most of the Peace Dollars have varieties.
This is true of postage stamps as well. I used to deal in them. There are lots of stamps that old and older that are worth less than $1.00. Plus, there are quite a few ancient coins that can be had for less than $50. Age does not necessarily equal value or rarity.
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