Detecting Counterfeit US Trade Dollars

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Trade dollars are highly counterfeited and buyers need to do their homework. Below you will find some tips on detecting fake trade dollars.

A lot of times counterfeiters get the obverse and reverse types mismatched, below we show how to catch those easily.

Please note that just because a coin may pass the tests on this page does not mean it is genuine. If you are unsure, post an image of your coin in the Classic US Coin Forum and you will get plenty of help.

First Check the Specifications

Content:

90% silver 10% copper (try the tissue test)

Weight:

27.2 grams

Diameter:

38.1 millimeters

Edge:

Reeded

Then check to see if the obverse types match the reverse types.

US Trade Dollar Obverse Types

There are two types of obverses on US trade dollars. The easiest marker is the ribbon, as seen in the images below.

Type one is used from 1873 through 1876. Type two is used from 1876 through 1885.

 Certified Trade Dollar Trade Dollar Obverse Types
Trade Dollar Obverse Types
Certified Trade Dollar on eBay
Image Courtesy of Heritage Auctions on eBay

US Trade Dollar Reverse Types

There are also two types of reverses on US trade dollars. The easiest marker is the arrows, as seen in the images below.

Type one is used from 1873 through 1876. Type two is used from 1875 through 1885.

 Certified Trade Dollar Trade Dollar Reverse Types
Trade Dollar Reverse Types
Certified Trade Dollar on eBay
Image Courtesy of Heritage Auctions on eBay

Obverse and Reverse Pairings

1873 - 1874

Type 1 obverse paired with type 1 reverse.
Type 2 obverse is a counterfeit.
Type 2 reverse is a counterfeit.

1875

Type 1 obverse paired with type 1 reverse.
Type 1 obverse paired with type 2 reverse.
Type 2 obverse is a counterfeit.

1876

Type 1 obverse and type 1 reverse.
Type 1 obverse and type 2 reverse.
Type 2 obverse and type 2 reverse.
Type 2 obverse paired with type 1 reverse is a counterfeit.

1877 - 1885

Type 2 obverse and Type 2 reverse only.
Type 1 obverse is a counterfeit.
Type 1 reverse is a counterfeit.

Trade Dollar Grading

Trade Dollar General Grading Standards

Free Trade Dollar Help

Trade Dollar Forum
Trade Dollar Variety and Error Forum
Trade Dollar Grading Forum

Additional Trade Dollar Resources

Trade Dollar Facts     Trade Dollar History
Trade Dollar Types / Counterfeit Help

Trade Dollars for Sale

Cheap Trade Dollars
Hot Trade Dollars
Popular Trade Dollars
Error Trade Dollars
Trade Dollars on eBay

Trade Dollar Reading

Buyer's Guide to Silver & Trade Dollars of the US
Silver Dollars & Trade Dollars of the US, Vols. 1-2
2020 Red Book - Guide Book of United States Coins
Cherrypickers Guide to Rare Die Varieties

Certified Trade Dollars on eBay

eBay Certified Application

Click on any of the boxes to see much larger images.

All Certified Trade Dollars

All Buy It Now Certified Trade Dollars

1875 S TRADE DOLLAR $1 EXTRA FINE XF DETAILS
1875 S TRADE DOLLAR $1 EXTRA FINE XF DETAILS
1874 S TRADE SILVER DOLLAR T$1 COIN CERTIFIED PCGS AU DETAILS WITH CHOP MARKS
1874 S TRADE SILVER DOLLAR T$1 COIN   CERTIFIED PCGS AU DETAILS WITH CHOP MARKS
1873 TRADE DOLLAR PCGS PR 61
1873 TRADE DOLLAR PCGS PR 61
1878 S TRADE DOLLAR GOOD T$1 C00052594
1878 S TRADE DOLLAR GOOD T$1 C00052594
1875 P TRADE DOLLAR TYPE 1 OBV TYPE 1 REV PCGS XF DETAILS LY
1875 P TRADE DOLLAR TYPE 1 OBV TYPE 1 REV PCGS XF DETAILS LY
1877 S TRADE SILVER DOLLAR XF DETAILS. PCGS GENUINE SHARP COIN PRICED
1877 S TRADE SILVER DOLLAR    XF DETAILS. PCGS GENUINE SHARP COIN PRICED
1877 S TRADE SILVER DOLLAR XF DETAILS. PCGS GENUINE SHARP COIN PRICED
1877 S TRADE SILVER DOLLAR    XF DETAILS. PCGS GENUINE SHARP COIN PRICED
1877 S TRADE SILVER DOLLAR XF DETAILS. PCGS GENUINE SHARP COIN PRICED
1877 S TRADE SILVER DOLLAR    XF DETAILS. PCGS GENUINE SHARP COIN PRICED
1878 S TRADE DOLLAR IN VF CONDITION NATURAL COLOR
1878 S TRADE DOLLAR IN VF CONDITION NATURAL COLOR
1877 TRADE DOLLAR $ MS64 PL PROOF LIKE NGC 943439 4 HAND SIGNED BY K. BRESSETT
1877 TRADE DOLLAR $ MS64 PL PROOF LIKE NGC 943439 4   HAND SIGNED BY K. BRESSETT
1874 CC TRADE SILVER DOLLAR EF40 PCGS
1874 CC TRADE SILVER DOLLAR EF40 PCGS
1875 TRADE DOLLAR PCGS MS 62
1875 TRADE DOLLAR PCGS MS 62
1881 PROOF TRADE SILVER DOLLAR T$1 COIN. CERTIFIED PCGS PROOF UNC DETAIL PF PR
1881 PROOF TRADE SILVER DOLLAR T$1 COIN. CERTIFIED PCGS PROOF UNC DETAIL  PF PR
1877 S $1 TRADE DOLLAR AU
1877 S $1 TRADE DOLLAR AU
1873 P TRADE DOLLAR T$1 VF DETAILS FIRST YEAR 420 GRAINS .900 SILVER
   1873 P TRADE DOLLAR T$1 VF DETAILS FIRST YEAR 420 GRAINS .900 SILVER
NICE CIRCULATED 1876 S TRADE DOLLAR GRADED BY ANACS VF 30 LOT 21/50
NICE CIRCULATED 1876 S TRADE DOLLAR GRADED BY ANACS  VF 30  LOT 21/50
 

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