1877-S Trade Dollar

The 1877-S trade dollar from the Legend Collection of Mint State Trade Dollars.  This coin is graded PCGS MS67 and has a population of one with none finer.

 

Mintage

9,519,000 Business strikes

 

Coinage Context

Record mintage: The mintage of the 1877-S trade dollar broke all previous records, and no later mintage was ever to equal it, with the result that the production of 9,519,000 pieces stands as the high point of the denomination. In fact, the mintage of 1877-S alone was greater than all combined trade dollar mintages of the Philadelphia and Carson City mints from the first year of business strike production, 1873, until the last, 1878!

The high water mark for monthly trade dollar deliveries in 1877 at the San Francisco Mint was August, when 1,329,000 were ready for distribution.

Most shipped to China: Although some coins were distributed within the United States to brokers who bought them at a discount from face value and sold them to industrialists and others, by far the greatest amount of 1877-S trade dollars went to China, where they were plentiful for decades afterward. Many were made for the Nevada Bank of San Francisco (see Additional Information under 1877, above)

 

Numismatic Information

Circulated grades: In grades from VF-20 to AU-58 the 1877-S is the most common of all trade dollars. I estimate that 50,000 or more exist. Chopmarked coins are also common.

Mint State grades: By comparison to other issues in the trade dollar series, the 1877-S is relatively "common" in Mint State, particularly in lower levels. I estimate that probably 50 to 100 or more MS-65 coins exist, a rare issue in absolute terms, but a common one relative to its cousins.

I estimate that 170 to 325 or more 1877-S trade dollars survive at the MS-64 level, 300 to 600 or more at the MS-63 level, and 1,750 to 3,500 or more in grades from MS-60 to 62.

Varieties: All authentic 1877-S trade dollars known to me to be of correct statutory weight (420+/- grains) are Type II/II. (See Additional Information below for so-called 1877-S Type II/I trade dollars.)

 

 

Varieties:

 

OBVERSE TYPE II, RIBBON ENDS POINT DOWN, 1876-1885

REVERSE TYPE II: NO BERRY BELOW CLAW, 1875-1885

 

Business strikes:

1. Minute s: Breen-5814. Mintmark .84 mm. high. Date numerals light, 1 and 8 apart. "Light Date." Rare.

 

2. Medium S: Mintmark 1.1 mm. high. Date numerals heavy, 1 and 8 touch. "Heavy Date."

 

2. Large S. 1 8 free: Breen-5813. Mintmark 1.17 mm. high. Date numerals light, 1 and 8 apart. "Light Date." Common. Many minor date position varieties. Often seen chopmarked.

 

3. Large S. 18 touching: Breen-5810. Mintmark 1.17 mm. high. Date numerals heavy, 1 and 8 touch. "Heavy Date." Multiple dies. Common. Many minor date position varieties. Often seen chopmarked.

 

4. Large S. Doubled reverse die: Breen-5812. Doubling plain on most letters. Rare. Bill Fivaz reports another, strongest on E PLURIBUS UNUM.

 

5. Large S. Blunt tail to R of DOLLAR: Breen-5811. Upturned serif broken off. At least two positional varieties: (a) mintmark leans crazily to left; (b) S upright; normal periods. Both are presently considered to be rare.

 

6. Large S. Blunt tail to R of DOLLAR, but no periods after E of FINE or R of DOLLAR: Not in Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia. Fewer than a dozen seen to date. Discovered by James R. Arnold (his specimen is EF and weighs 417.9 grains). The period after the final A in AMERICA is a tiny crescent. Evidently the hub was damaged. "Does this occur on 1878 trades of any mint?" asks Walter H. Breen.

 

 

1877-S TRADE DOLLAR: MARKET VALUES

 

Click Here for Current Values

 

Year

VF

EF

AU

Unc.

1877

---

---

---

$1.00

1880

---

---

$0.90

1.00

1885

---

$1.00

1.00

1.00

1890

$0.90

.90

.90

1.00

1895

.90

.90

.90

1.00

1900

.90

.90

.90

1.00

1905

.90

.90

1.00

1.25

1910

.90

.90

1.00

1.25

1915

1.00

1.00

1.10

1.25

1920

1.00

1.00

1.10

1.25

1925

1.10

1.10

1.10

1.25

1930

1.10

1.15

1.20

1.50

1935

1.50

1.60

1.70

2.00

1940

1.50

1.60

1.70

2.00

1945

3.00

3.10

3.25

4.50

1950

3.50

3.75

4.25

6.00

1955

7.50

8.50

9.50

12.50

1960

10.00

12.00

14.00

20.00

1965

16.00

17.50

22.50

37.50

1970

32.50

37.50

50.00

100.00

1975

60.00

85.00

160.00

460.00

1980

75.00

115.00

235.00

750.00

1985

75.00

140.00

250.00

950.00

 

 

Year

VF-20

EF-40

AU-50

MS-60

MS-63

MS-64

MS-65

1986

$75

$160

$250

$600

$1600

$3100

$6500

1987

90

150

265

550

1600

3350

7250

1988

75

155

280

550

1600

3400

9700

1989

80

150

275

610

1750

5250

16500

1990

85

160

275

500

1250

5250

11500

1991

85

155

250

500

1250

3000

7500

1992

90

125

225

425

1400

2850

7500

1993

             

1994

             

1995

             

 

 

 

SUMMARY OF CHARACTERISTICS

1877-S

BUSINESS STRIKES:

Enabling legislation: Act of February 12, 1873

 

Designer: William Barber

 

Weight: 420 grains

 

Composition: .900 silver, .100 copper

 

Melt-down (silver value) in year minted: $0.9457

 

Dies prepared: Obverse: 42; Reverse: 32. According to R.W. Julian, 6 obverses were ordered on November 24, 1876; 6 pairs were ordered on another date in November 1876; 18 obverses and 8 reverses were sent from Philadelphia on December 21, 1876 (apparently, all for 1877); 24 "dies of the best quality steel" were ordered on July 19, 1877.

 

Business strike mintage: 9,519,000; Delivery figures by month: January: 1,082,000; February: 863,000; March: 837,000; April: 876,000; May: 1,129,000; June: 312,000; July: 762,000; August: 1,329,000; September: 1,275,000; October: 481,000; November: none; December: 573,000. The die records may be incomplete; 42 obverses averages out to an extremely high 226,642 per die-pair.

 

Approximate population MS-66 or better: 10 to 15+ (URS-4)

 

Approximate population MS-65 or better: 50 to 100+ (URS-)

 

Approximate population MS-64: 170 to 325+ (URS-9)

 

Approximate population MS-63: 300 to 600+ (URS-10)

 

Approximate population MS-60 to 62: 1,750 to 3,500+ (URS-12)

 

Approximate population VF-20 to AU-58: 50,000+. (URS-17)

 

Characteristics of striking: Usually seen well struck. However, among large mintage issues such as this there are many variations in striking quality. Some have a prooflike surface, especially on the obverse.

 

Known hoards of Mint State coins: None

 

Rarity with original Chinese chopmark(s): Extremely plentiful. Most common of all chopmarked trade dollars.

 

 

PROOFS: None

 

 

COMMENTARY: 1877-S is the highest mintage trade dollar and is the most common in all circulated grades, including chopmarked coins.