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 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

1876 CC TRADE DOLLAR XF DETAILS$1 SILVER US COIN LOT 5096
1876 CC TRADE DOLLAR XF  DETAILS$1 SILVER  US COIN LOT 5096
1878 S SILVER TRADE DOLLAR $1 COIN
1878 S SILVER TRADE DOLLAR $1 COIN
1877 TRADE DOLLAR UNITED STATES
1877 TRADE DOLLAR UNITED STATES
1876 S TRADE SILVER DOLLAR $1 XF NICE ORIGINAL COIN
1876 S TRADE SILVER DOLLAR $1 XF NICE ORIGINAL COIN
1875 CC TRADE DOLLAR AUTHENTIC AU DETAILS NO CHOP OR GRAFITTI.. SHARP COIN
1875 CC TRADE DOLLAR AUTHENTIC AU DETAILS NO CHOP OR GRAFITTI.. SHARP COIN
1875 S TRADE SILVER DOLLAR T$1 AU DETAILS WITH CHOP MARKS COIN
1875 S TRADE SILVER DOLLAR T$1   AU DETAILS WITH CHOP MARKS    COIN
COINS: 1876 S TRADE DOLLAR PCGS GENUINE CLEANED XF DETAIL
COINS: 1876 S TRADE DOLLAR PCGS GENUINE CLEANED   XF DETAIL
1877 S TRADE SILVER DOLLAR T$1 AU DETAILS WITH CHOP MARKS COIN
1877 S TRADE SILVER DOLLAR T$1   AU DETAILS WITH CHOP MARKS    COIN
1877 $1 SEATED TRADE SILVER DOLLAR VF CONDITION NICELY TONED COIN
1877 $1 SEATED TRADE SILVER DOLLAR VF CONDITION NICELY TONED COIN
PCGS GENUINE 1877 S TRADE DOLLAR XF DETAILS SILVER $
PCGS GENUINE 1877 S TRADE DOLLAR XF DETAILS SILVER $
1877 S TRADE DOLLAR CERTIFIED NGC MS 61 SILVER DOLLAR
1877 S TRADE DOLLAR CERTIFIED NGC MS 61 SILVER DOLLAR
1877 S TRADE DOLLAR EXTRA FINE SILVER DOLLAR
1877 S TRADE DOLLAR EXTRA FINE SILVER DOLLAR
1877 TRADE DOLLAR FINE SILVER DOLLAR
1877 TRADE DOLLAR FINE  SILVER DOLLAR
1877 S TRADE DOLLAR FINE SILVER DOLLAR ORIENTAL TRADING DOLLAR
1877 S TRADE DOLLAR FINE SILVER DOLLAR   ORIENTAL TRADING DOLLAR
1876 P MS61 TRADE SILVER DOLLAR $1 ICG GRADED NICELY TONED & PROOFLIKE OBVERSE
1876 P MS61 TRADE SILVER DOLLAR $1 ICG GRADED NICELY TONED & PROOFLIKE OBVERSE
1878 S ICG MS60 DETAILS CLEANED CORROISION SPOT TRADE DOLLAR B17764
1878   S ICG MS60 DETAILS  CLEANED CORROISION SPOT TRADE DOLLAR   B17764

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