1885 Trade Silver Dollar: Proof Only 

The 1885 Trade Silver Dollar is a fascinating and rare coin in American numismatics. It was minted as a proof-only issue, meaning that it was exclusively struck for collectors and was not intended for circulation. Here are some key points about this coin: 

Design: The Trade Silver Dollar features a design by William Barber, the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint at the time. The obverse depicts a left-facing Liberty wearing a Phrygian cap, surrounded by 13 stars representing the original colonies.  

The reverse features an eagle perched on a bundle of arrows and an olive branch, symbolizing strength and peace, respectively. The eagle is surrounded by a wreath, and the denomination "420 GRAINS, 900 FINE" is inscribed below. 

1. Mintage: The 1885 Trade Silver Dollar had a limited mintage, with only 5,000 proof coins struck at the Philadelphia Mint. These coins were specially produced for inclusion in proof sets and for sale to collectors.

1. Historical Context: The Trade Silver Dollar series was proposed as part of a plan to facilitate trade with Asian countries, particularly China. The idea was to create a coin that would be readily accepted in international commerce due to its silver content and uniformity of weight and fineness.

1. Collectibility: Due to its proof-only status and low mintage, the 1885 Trade Silver Dollar is highly coveted by collectors. Examples in good condition with attractive toning and mirrored surfaces command significant premiums at auction and in the numismatic market.

1. Varieties: While the 1885 Trade Silver Dollar is generally considered a proof-only issue, there are some known die varieties, including minor variations in the placement of the date and other design elements. These varieties are of interest to specialists and advanced collectors.

1. Surviving Examples: Despite its limited mintage, a significant number of 1885 Trade Silver Dollars have survived to the present day. However, many of these coins exhibit signs of wear or handling due to their status as collector items.

The Walking Liberty Half Dollar series, which ran from 1916 to 1947, is widely considered one of the most beautiful and iconic designs in American coinage. The 1938-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar holds a special place within this series, representing the latter years of production before the series concluded. 

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