Trade with Chinese merchants soared after the Opium Wars broke
barriers to commerce.
A preference for silver specie led several nations to issue
dollar-sized silver coins exclusively for trade in the derogatorily
Britain was uncharacteristically late with its Trade silver dollars,
which debuted in 1895. These .900 fine silver pieces were struck in
Bombay and Calcutta in India (later, some were struck in London) and
intended for use between China and the British colonies of Hong Kong
and the Straits Settlements.
Rare gold “off metal” examples exist, and one such 1895 piece (once
owned by Egypt’s King Farouk) realized $271,400 U.S., including an 18
percent buyer’s fee, in an Aug. 27 auction in Hong Kong, conducted by
A.H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd. in conjunction with Ma Tak Wo.
The coin was graded Proof 64 Cameo by Numismatic Guaranty Corp.
The obverse shows a standing figure of Britannia with the date and
denomination. The reverse has the Chinese symbol for longevity, with
the denomination in Chinese and Malay.
To see the full auction results, visit the firm’s website.