1874-CC Trade Dollar
In a year when its production of other denominations was rather small, the Carson City Mint struck well over a million trade dollars. In fact, only the following year saw a larger number of CC trades. Just small batches of four or five figures were produced each month until August, when production really too off. The numbers advanced steadily from 145,000 pieces that month to a peak in December with some 240,000 trade dollars struck. Most of these coins were shipped to the Orient, as was the intention when authorized by Congress. Trade dollars of various nations circulated to some extent there as late as the 1940s, mostly being traded in bulk as just so much silver bullion. The newly established People's Republic frowned on the use of gold and silver in trade, and these coins began to be surreptitiously smuggled out to the West. Large numbers were repatriated to the United States in the 1950s, but most of these coins were worn, damaged and/or chop marked. Nice circulated examples are very scarce, as are Mint State coins of average quality. Gems are extremely rare, probably more so that the certified populations suggest. Three different sizes/styles of the CC mintmark were used for this year's production. Trade dollars are not widely collected by varieties, but such naked eye distinctions make them rather appealing.