Ron Guth: The first Trade Dollars appeared in 1873, not for use in America, but primarily in Asia. Since most were shipped overseas, collectors in America struggled to find examples. As usual, the Mint offered Proof versions for sale to collectors (at a premium, of course), but Uncirculated versions were another story. This is why high-grade Trade Dollars are so elusive and valuable today. To illustrate, the Condition Census for the 1873 Trade Dollar drops from a high of MS-67 (only a single coin) to a low of MS-64 in 10th place. This is completely out of character for a first-year-of-issue coin, where the Census almost always consists of numerous high-grade examples because of the hoarding by collectors of the new design.
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