The coin was designed by William Barber. More trade dollars were minted in San Francisco than Carson City and Philadelphia combined. San Francisco was closest both to the source of the silver as well as the ultimate destination of the coins, China.
The Trade dollar was first minted in 1873 and was intended to provide a means for American businessmen to trade with merchants in Orient, where the coin of choice had long been the Mexican eight reales piece.
The obverse depicts Miss Liberty seated on a bale of merchandise, her right hand holding a branch, her left hand holding a ribbon inscribed LIBERTY, a sheaf of wheat behind, and the sea in front. IN GOD WE TRUST appears at the bottom just above the date. Stars surround the upper portion. The reverse depicts an eagle holding three arrows and a branch, with E PLURBUS UNUM on a ribbon above, 420 GRAINS, 900 FINE, below. The inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and TRADE DOLLAR surrounds.
$1 TRADE DOLLARS (1873-1885)
Designer: William Barber
Composition: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
Weight: 27.22 grams
Diameter: 38.10 millimeters
Mints: Mints: Philadelphia, Carson City, and San Francisco