The silver Trade Dollar was minted in response to other nations' large silver coins that freely circulated in the Far East. Often, these coins were counterstamped with small Chinese characters, called "chopmarks." These chopmarks meant that a merchant had accepted the coin at its silver value and often attested to the coins fineness. It was designed by William Barber and, in 1887, all reserves of Trade Dollars were redeemed by the US Government.
The obverse features a seated Liberty on bales of cotton. She is facing left — towards the Orient. Her left hand holds a ribbon inscribed with the legend “Liberty,” while her right holds aloft an olive branch symbolic of peace. The 13 stars across the coin’s perimeter represent the 13 original colonies.
The reverse depicts a perched eagle with wings raised. Grasped in the eagle's talons is a cluster of arrows and an olive branch, representing war and peace.
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