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The E-Sylum: Volume 20, Number 13, March 26, 2017, Article 31

STACKS BOWERS OFFERS CHOPMARKED TRADE DOLLARS

The silver Lion Dollar was an important world trade coin, as was the much later U.S. Trade Dollar, which was minted specifically for that purpose. In the Orient, merchants and moneychangers tested the coins passing through their hands to ensure they had the proper weight and fineness of silver. To attest to their evaluation, they stamped their symbol (called a countermark or chopmark) on the coin.

In a note Colin Gullberg, editor of Chopmark News, the newsletter of the Chopmark Collectors Club wrote the following email to club members on March 13, 2017.

Stacks Bowers auctions is selling an important collection of U.S. trade dollars in their upcoming March 2017 Baltimore Sale. There are 44 chopped U.S. trade dollars, apparently all from the same collection, including a very scarce 1878-CC coin. James Sneddon and David Reimer, two specialist collectors, estimate that there are probably about 10-12 pieces in existence. In an old issue of the newsletter (March 2005, vol. 11 no. 1) James Sneddon wrote an article of the 8 examples of the 1878-CC known to him. This appears not to be one of those 8.

You can view the 44 coins here:
https://auctions.stacksbowers.com/auctions/3-6Y8CA?
view=list&sort=relevance&is_mixed_lot=sometimes&limit=48
&search=chopmark+Trade+dollar

Is this a collection owned by one of our members? I would be interested in knowing.

Here a few selections from the offering. -Editor

Lot 4349: 1878-CC Trade Dollar

Chopmarked 1878-CC Trade Dollar obverse Chopmarked 1878-CC Trade Dollar reverse

1878-CC Trade Dollar--Chopmark--VF-35 (PCGS).
By far the rarest circulation strike in the trade dollar series, the 1878-CC was produced to the extent of just 97,000 pieces. These coins were struck before Secretary of the Treasury John Sherman's order of February 28, 1878 to cease paying out trade dollars for bullion reached the Carson City Mint. On July 19, 1878, the Mint melted 44,148 undistributed trade dollars, almost all of which were dated 1878-CC. The net mintage for this issue, therefore, is probably close to 52,852 coins. Most examples that were distributed probably remained in the United States, for the 1878-CC is also the rarest chopmarked trade dollar.

According to research conducted by James Sneddon (and kindly related to your cataloger by Colin James Gullberg), only eight specimens are positively confirmed to exist, although there are estimates of a dozen or so examples extant. Indeed, as this specimen does not correspond to seven of the examples reported by Sneddon (we have not been able to locate a picture of the eighth example on his list), it may be a newcomer whose prior provenance is unknown to researchers. A highlight of the present collection, and a coin that would serve as a centerpiece in a specialized cabinet.

I didn't have a chance to look at the online lot descriptions until today, so kudos to Colin and the cataloguer for updating the listing prior to the sale. Everyone wins when numismatic information is freely shared. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
1878-CC Trade Dollar--Chopmark--VF-35 (PCGS). (https://auctions.stacksbowers.com/lots/view/3-6YBM7)

Lot 4321: 1874-S Trade Dollar

Chopmarked 1874-S Trade Dollar obverse Chopmarked 1874-S Trade Dollar reverse

1874-S Trade Dollar--Chopmark--MS-62 (PCGS).
A satiny, generally brilliant example with a few swirls of light russet patina here and there around the reverse border. The strike is generally sharp, although the S mintmark is lightly impressed and faint. A shallow chopmark is present on the obverse at Liberty's knees, while a sharper one is readily evident in the upper reverse field behind the eagle's head. Widely used in commerce in the Orient as an issue, the 1874-S is one of the more numerous chopmarked trade dollars in today's market.

The 1878-CC has seen better days, but the worn piece shows the evidence of its circulation history. To me, that's where the romance lies. But understandably, there's an equal draw to coins that please the eye, retaining the splendor of their original details as minted. Here's a high grade piece with just two dainty chops. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
1874-S Trade Dollar--Chopmark--MS-62 (PCGS). (https://auctions.stacksbowers.com/lots/view/3-6YC0Q)

Lot 4311: 1873-CC Trade Dollar

Chopmarked 1873-CC Trade Dollar obverse Chopmarked 1873-CC Trade Dollar reverse

1873-CC Trade Dollar--Chopmark--EF-40 (PCGS).
An extensively chopmarked example, numerous examples of which are present on the obverse with three or four additional ones evident around the reverse periphery. Central detail is largely obscured on both sides, as a result, as are some of the peripheral features. The CC mintmark is faint, yet discernible with patience, while the date remains clear and bold. Isolated swirls of sandy-orange patina interrupt an otherwise uniform silver gray appearance. A second example of this scarce CC-mint trade dollar issue, one that is nonetheless relatively plentiful chopmarked due to extensive commercial use in the Orient.

On the other hand, there are pieces like this, bent and nearly obliterated by multiple chopmarks - a true workhorse coin. Yet, I've seen worse. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
1873-CC Trade Dollar--Chopmark--EF-40 (PCGS). (https://auctions.stacksbowers.com/lots/view/3-6YC5S)

For more information about the Chopmark Collectors Club, see:
www.chopmarks.org

NNP ad12 research got lighter


Wayne Homren, Editor

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The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address: whomren@gmail.com

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