Important MS67 1878-S Trade Dollar, One of
1878-S T$1 MS67 NGC. The 1878-S Trade dollar issue marks an
important nexus in the history of U.S. silver dollar production.
The Trade dollars were on their last legs. The 1878 Carson City and
San Francisco Trade dollars would prove to be the last circulation
issues; the 1879-1883 were proof-only issues, and the famous 1884
and 1885 proofs were produced under suspicious circumstances not
relevant here. In 1878 the Morgan dollars were seeing their initial
year of production at those same mints.
Four Business Strikes for the Type at NGC
The 1876-S through 1878-S Trade dollars were produced in quantities of 5.2 million, 9.5 million (a series record), and 4.2 million coins, respectively--enormous figures for any coin of the era. The 1878-S Morgan dollar took up the reins from the fading series, issued to the extent of 9.8 million pieces.
It is no coincidence that those enormous silver dollar production figures coincide with the peak years of Nevada's fabled Comstock Lode, which from 1876 through 1878 is estimated to have produced silver bullion worth about $36 million each year. The mine's bullion production would slowly dwindle until about 1892, when the "bottom of the barrel" began to be scraped.
The present Superb Gem Mint State business strike is an equally important representative of this historic numismatic era. The rich mint luster is exceptional. Each side is beautifully toned with copper-rose center and irregular daubs of pale blue, interspersed with an occasional brilliant patch. The strike is full, even at the top of the obverse, an area usually incompletely struck. The only mark that will suffice for pedigree purposes is in the field below Liberty's extended arm.
While proof Trade dollars at the PR67 level are neither common nor extremely uncommon, a business strike Trade dollar at the MS67 grade level is a momentous rarity. NGC has certified only four business strikes, including all Trade dollar issues, at that grade level, and this piece is--unsurprisingly--the only 1878-S so certified at NGC (9/10). Opportunities such as this one are fleeting in the world of numismatic auctions; prepared bidders will act accordingly.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 253G, PCGS# 7048)
Weight: 27.22 grams
Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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