Click to enlarge1884 Trade Dollar

The 10 coins known are believed to have come from both Idler and Snowden with the formers being parcelled out by John Haseltine & Stephen Nagy and the latter to William Woodin who sold them via Edgar Adams in the early 1900s. We recommend David Stone's writeup for the Eliasberg specimen in Heritage's 2019 FUN sale for more information. Virgil Brand owned 5 of these (journal #s 39133, 44965, 45343, 45344 & 92357) and Col Green 4. Whether there is any overlap of coins between the 2 ownerships is unknown.

It is unclear to me if these were truly collectors coins or not. The 10 struck may have been part of an initial run of these for inclusion in proof sets as was done in previous years, but were later excluded with Snowden keeping the coins for his own use as opposed to destroying them.

The reason I speculate about this is because the dies were used earlier to strike at least 2 of these in copper as J1732/P1943. Both of these ended up in the collection of A.M. Smith who authored the Mint's visitor guides. One was offered by itself and the other as part of a partial copper set from the quarter to the double eagle by Bolender in 1935. Both examples mentioned above have since been silverplated.

The 1885 Trade Dollar on the other hand was excluded from the aluminum proof sets struck that year and appears more clandestined to me.

Additional information about the 1884 dies can be found in Stack's Sprinkle sale and also in "Silver Dollars and Trade Dollars of the United States" by Dave Bowers and Mark Borckardt.

The illustrated example is the finest known, PCGS67, and was formerly in the Dunham and Floyd Starr collection.

Image courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg's Coins & Collectibles.