1876-S Trade Dollar

The 1876-S trade dollar from the Legend Collection of Mint State Trade Dollars.  It is graded PCGS MS66 and has a population of one with none finer.   This coin previously resided in the Eliasberg Collection.

 

Mintage

5,227,000 Business strikes

 

Coinage Context

High volume production: The year 1876 at the San Francisco Mint saw high volume production of trade dollars from Nevada (primarily) silver. Production was strong each month, and by the end of December some 5,227,000 coins had been ejected from the presses, a new record for the denomination. Many of these were made for the Nevada Bank of San Francisco (see testimony by Louis McLane, quoted under Additional Information, 1877).

Most coins were shipped to the Orient, although some were circulated domestically, particularly before the demonetization act of July 22, 1876 took effect.

 

Numismatic Information

Varieties: The 1876-S is known in three combinations: I/I, I/II, and II/II. A sample of 43 1876-S trade dollars studied by Mark Borckardt in 1992 contained 27 (62%) I/I, eight (19%) I/II, and eight (19%) II/II; although the data base is small, this seems to provide an indication of relative availability.

Circulated grades: Among issues of trade dollars, in grades from VF-20 to AU-58 the 1876-S is one of the most plentiful on the market today. I estimate that 25,000 or more exist worldwide. Among unchopmarked coins, Type II/II seems to be the scarcest.

Among chopmarked coins, Types I/I and II/II are said to be common; I/II is said to be rare. (These have not been studied by the author.)

Mint State grades: In MS-65 grade the 1876-S is rare, and probably no more than 20 to 40 or so exist. At the MS-64 level the estimated population is 100 to 200 or more, increasing to 175 to 300 or more at the MS-63 range. Most Mint State 1876-S trade dollars are in the MS-60 to 62 range, as reflected by the estimated population of 900 to 1,800 or more coins.

A common issue: Although MS-64 and finer coins are fairly scarce, in MS-60 through MS-63 grades this is the third most common business strike trade dollar. In circulated grades the 1876-S is believed to be the fifth most common trade dollar, exceeded in availability only by 1877-S (most common), 1878-S, 1875-S, and 1877. Chopmarked coins are common.

Doubled obverse die: A rare variety of 1876-S II/II shows extensive doubling. The branch hand, left foot, and parts of LIBERTY are doubled, among other features. Described below.

 

 

Varieties:

OBVERSE TYPE I: RIBBON ENDS POINT LEFT, 1873-1876

REVERSE TYPE I: BERRY BELOW CLAW, 1873-1876

 

Business strikes:

1. Micro s: Breen-5801. Still very rare.

 

2. Medium S: Mintmark .9 mm. high. Not in Walter H. Breen’s Encyclopedia. Extremely rare. Discovered by Jack Beymer. The only ones seen to date have no period after FINE; this is from hub damage and probably occurs on some other 1876 Type I reverses of various mints.

 

3. Large S: Breen-5800. Mintmark 1.17 mm. high. Common. The most plentiful 1876-S. Often chopmarked. Pieces with raised parallel die lines slanting up to right behind head are counterfeits.

 

OBVERSE TYPE I: RIBBON ENDS POINT LEFT, 1873-1876

REVERSE TYPE II: NO BERRY BELOW CLAW, 1875-1885

 

Business strikes:

1. Micro s: Breen-5802. Mintmark .75 mm. high. Considerably scarcer than preceding. Often chopmarked.

 

2. Minute s: Mintmark .84 mm. high.

 

OBVERSE TYPE II, RIBBON ENDS POINT DOWN, 1876-1885

REVERSE TYPE II: NO BERRY BELOW CLAW, 1875-1885

 

1. Micro s: Breen-5803. Scarce. Some have the anomalous reverse Type IIa, with large period after GRAINS (much larger than the comma on the normal II); rightmost leaf tip is pointed. The Santovenia Collection includes an MS-64 or finer coin.

 

2. Repunched 6: One variety of Breen-5803 has part of the base of what appears to be an extra 6 within upper part of loop of the 6; known to Marvin Jacobson by 1975 (see Willem correspondence quoted earlier), also identified by Jack Beymer. Some have called this an overdate, 1876/5, which it is not. It has also been suggested that this may be 1876/4, which would be impossible, as the obverse is Type II not used in 1874. This may be the most common variety of the 1876-S II/II issue.

 

3. Large S: Unconfirmed. Walter H. Breen states that this may exist.

 

4. Doubled obverse die: Fivaz & Stanton $1.00-013, commentary as follows: "Doubling is evident on Liberty’s hand, olive branch, left foot. Possibly first reported around 1973." Further, Bill Fivaz reports the following concerning this issue: "This die exhibits nice doubling on Miss Liberty’s chin, outstretched right hand, left foot, and some of the drapery. It has been a very difficult variety to find in any grade, and only two or three have been reported." Published by Ross Haddix, Coin World, April 19, 1989, Coin World December 27, 1989. Very rare. Leroy C. Van Allen sold a specimen to the author in June 1992, noting that he knew of just three extant coins.

 

UNCLASSIFIED:

Additional variety, as yet unattributed to obverse and reverse types:

 

Doubled reverse die: Described in Coin World November 29, 1987. This variety has not been seen by me or by Walter H. Breen; only halftone newspaper pictures have been observed.

 

 

1876-S TRADE DOLLAR: MARKET VALUES

 

Click Here for Current Values

 

Year

VF

EF

AU

Unc.

1876

---

---

---

$1.00

1880

---

---

$0.90

1.00

1885

---

$1.00

$1.00

1.00

1890

$0.90

.90

.90

1.00

1895

.90

.90

.90

1.00

1900

.90

.90

.90

1.25

1905

.90

.90

.90

1.25

1910

.90

.90

1.00

1.25

1915

1.00

1.00

1.10

1.25

1920

1.00

1.00

1.10

1.25

1925

1.00

1.00

1.10

1.25

1930

1.10

1.20

1.35

1.75

1935

1.50

1.60

1.75

2.50

1940

2.00

2.25

2.40

3.00

1945

3.00

3.40

3.75

5.00

1950

3.50

4.00

4.50

6.00

1955

7.50

8.00

8.50

12.50

1960

12.50

15.00

17.50

25.00

1965

16.00

20.00

27.00

40.00

1970

32.50

37.50

50.00

100.00

1975

60.00

85.00

160.00

460.00

1980

75.00

115.00

235.00

750.00

1985

75.00

140.00

250.00

950.00

 

 

Year

VF-20

EF-40

AU-50

MS-60

MS-63

MS-64

MS-65

1986

$75

$160

$250

$600

$1600

$3100

$6500

1987

90

150

265

550

1600

3350

7250

1988

75

155

280

550

1600

3400

9700

1989

80

150

275

610

1750

5250

16500

1990

85

160

275

500

1250

5250

11500

1991

85

155

250

500

1250

3000

7500

1992

90

125

225

425

1400

2850

7500

1993

             

1994

             

1995

             

 

 

 

SUMMARY OF CHARACTERISTICS

1876-S

BUSINESS STRIKES:

Enabling legislation: Act of February 12, 1873

 

Designer: William Barber

 

Weight: 420 grains

 

Composition: .900 silver, .100 copper

 

Melt-down (silver value) in year minted: $0.9101

 

Dies prepared: Obverse: Unknown; Reverse: Unknown:

 

Business strike mintage: 5,227,000; Delivery figures by month: January: 342,000; February: 410,000; March: 706,000; April: 385,000; May: 318,000; June: 123,000; July: 127,000; August: 473,000; September: 450,000; October: 465,000; November: 545,000; December: 883,000.

 

Approximate population MS-66 or better: 1 or 2 (URS-1)

 

Approximate population MS-65 or better: 30 to 40+ (URS-6)

 

Approximate population MS-64: 100 to 200+ (URS-8)

 

Approximate population MS-63: 175 to 300+ (URS-9)

 

Approximate population MS-60 to 62: 900 to 1,800+ (URS-11)

 

Approximate population VF-20 to AU-58: 25,000+. (URS-16)

 

Characteristics of striking: Usually well struck. Some have evidence of light striking at the top of the obverse and at the eagle’s sinister leg on the reverse. Among large mintage issues such as this there are many variations in striking quality.

 

Known hoards of Mint State coins: None

 

Rarity with original Chinese chopmark(s): Types I/I and II/II are both common; I/II is rare.

 

 

PROOFS: None

 

 

COMMENTARY: A common issue in all but the highest grades. More research needs to be done with minor die varieties.