Just Mokie's Blog

09 Jul 2019

A Pair Of Genuine Travelers

| Just Mokie

One area of collecting that captured me at an early point in my collecting life was Chopmarked Coins that circulated in the Orient. My personal collection consists of approximately 20 different examples with my two most heavily chopped examples illustrated below. The Trade Dollar, 1874 - S, was slabbed by PCGS and listed as Genuine. The Japan Trade Dollar, 1876, is NGC slabbed and has been graded VF Details. Both these coins and several others will be included in my FIRST EVER Coin Show display this coming October.

Chopmarks were placed on coins by merchants, primarily Chinese, to test the fineness of the metal and to place their Character on the coin as a sort of guarantee of its silver content. The silver content of both these coins was higher than the Morgan Dollar, for example, and were designed to mimic the silver content of the Spanish 8 Reales. The 8 Reales being the most preferred silver coin of Chinese merchants.

When I look at these two different Dollars, I imagine the places they must have traveled and the many merchants that held them for a time. That is the beauty of coin collecting, we can travel through time and see history in our very hands.

Standard US Dollar - Weight 26.73 Grams Fineness .900 Silver Weight .7734 Ounce

US Trade Dollar - Weight 27.22 Grams Fineness .900 Silver Weight . 7874 Ounce

Japan Trade Dollar - Weight 27.22 Grams Fineness .900 Silver Weight .7874 Ounce

The United States Trade Dollar - John M. Willem

A Guide Book of United States Coins, 73rd Edition, R.S. Yeoman and many others.



Level 6

Great blog. Trade Dollars are, I believe, under appreciated. l have one and am very happy wit it. It seems a lot of collectors frown on chop marked coins. It seems the TPG's do also with the details and genuine grades.. I,like you, find the marks a big piece of our history. I actually started out looking for a chop marked coin but the other came up first.. I hope to see pictures of your display. Thanks!


Level 5

Makes we wish I'd be in Pittsburgh this October. After the show would you post pictures for us on the blog? I'm giving serious thought to making a display of my LGF set and I need ideas. I'm with you, chop-marked trade dollars are really cool and I could spend a lot of time imagining where they have been!

Just Mokie

Level 5

Thanks Gary, I wish you could make it as well. Our display guru Corey will hopefully guide me on this first attempt. I will make sure to blog about the whole experience including pictures of the actual display. I am already working on the descriptive cards for each coin to be featured along with the central description of what they are, since I assume most people are only slightly familiar with them. Should be great fun.

Very interesting collectibles! The chopmarks add to the history of the coins.

I won't be able to be there :(


Level 5

Chopmarks add to the history of the coin. More people should appreciate them.


Level 5

As much as I like them I have yet to purchase a chopmarked coin. The time will come though. It would be great to see your display. I will be displaying at the WFM in August.

Mike B

Level 6

I hope you do very well. I know you will. I would love to see your coins. You have good taste. I own one trade dollar. Everyone said send it in. I found it in the safe after ten years. I was happy I did. No chopmarks but I like them for the history of them . Great coin and underrated or is it?. I enjoy them. Your collection is probably just be great. Wish I could see them. Enjoy them. Pat.


Level 6

Wow! That is really cool! This example has a bunch of Chopmarks on it... I love Trade Dollars anyway and these just add to the interest! Wish I could see your display in person, but I'm on the other side of the country. ; )

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