The 1884 Trade dollar is one of those coins that enjoys a well-deserved prestigious status in the numismatic hobby. With its mintage of only 10 pieces, it's one of the most sought-after rare coins around, and its mystique rivals the legendary 1913 Liberty nickel and 1894-S Barber dime. It's been long held that the 1884-S Trade dollar was born under clandestine origins perhaps one night at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia and struck for coin dealer William Idler. But further research in more recent years suggests the 1884 Trade dollar was officially issued, though further details remain largely unclear.
Specimens cross the auction block from time to time, and when they do they inspire fervent bidding among the most financially well heeled of collectors. Such was the case when an example graded Proof-63 by Professional Coin Grading Service was offered by Heritage Auctions. This specimen has a storied history, having once belonged to King Farouk of Egypt and then later residing in the cabinet of Ambassador and Mrs. R. Henry Norweb. It was later owned by renowned numismatic author Q. David Bowers before its time in the Morris Silverman Collection. It commanded paddles to the air when it realized an outstanding sum of $396,000 on July 13, 2021.
*Images are courtesy of Heritage Auctions, www.HA.com.