Ultra rare 1884 and 1885 Proof trade dollars highlight Stack’s Bowers’ March 2020 Baltimore Auction, where expected to fetch as much as $500,000.
The 1884 and 1885 trade dollars are legendary U.S. Mint rarities, ranking #78 and #15 respectively among the 100 Greatest U.S. Coins (Garrett & Guth, 2019). While the Mint had ended production of circulation-strike trade dollars in 1878, Proof examples were officially distributed in Proof sets through 1883.
Additional Proof examples were struck at the beginning of 1884, but were never distributed and all but 10 were eventually melted. It is believed that a similar situation occurred in 1885, leaving just five examples of that date for collectors today.
With such small populations, the rarity of these trade dollars rivals or surpasses such numismatic icons as the 1913 Liberty Head nickel (five examples known) and the 1804 dollar (15 examples known). They are more infrequently offered at auction than these similar, but perhaps more famous issues. Every appearance is a historic opportunity.
These two trade dollars will be offered in Stack’s Bowers Galleries March 2020 presentation of further items from the E. Horatio Morgan Collection, an incredible cabinet of rarities assembled primarily in the late 1980s and early 1990s.