Estimated grade. Sold by B. Max Mehl Jun '41 price realized $5.65
Q. David Bowers: The following narrative, with minor editing, is from my "Silver Dollars & Trade Dollars of the United States: A Complete Encyclopedia" (Wolfeboro, NH: Bowers and Merena Galleries, Inc., 1993):
Only Proofs minted: For the fifth year in a row, the only trade dollars minted at Philadelphia were Proofs. The mintage figure of 1,097 Proofs was nearly equal to the number (1,100) of silver Proof sets made of other denominations from the dime to the Morgan dollar.
Earlier-dated trade dollars continued to flow into the United States from foreign countries, particularly Europe.
Proof data: By year's end 1,097 Proofs had been struck, the third highest Proof mintage in the series, and one of just three Proof production quantities to break the 1,000 mark. Demand for them seems to have been heaviest earlier in the year, as the monthly production figures indicate: January: none; February: 393; March: 277; April: 49; May: 70; June: 23; July: 30; August: 10; September: 20; October: 20; November: 40; and December: 165. There is the possibility that some may have been melted, possibly part of the December mintage.
Availability of Proofs today: Examples are readily available and are very popular due to the overall low mintage figure. Many are flatly struck. Walter H. Breen suggests that this may have been due to a deteriorating hub used to produce the die.
OBVERSE TYPE II, RIBBON ENDS POINT DOWN, 1876-1885
REVERSE TYPE II: NO BERRY BELOW CLAW, 1875-1885
1. Normal issue: Breen-5828. Often seen with flat head and stars, as in 1881. Reverse die also used in 1881, with incomplete leg feathers.
1a. Some specimens seen by the author have pronounced die doubling at the bases of some of the letters in the inscription 420 GRAINS, 900 FINE, particularly evident at FI and E of FINE. This die was also used in 1883.
1b. Another 1882 reverse as the right crossbar extension of the 4 in 420 on the reverse so faint as to be almost non-existent, second L in DOLLAR is normal (not the reverse die used in 1880 with defective second L).
Dies prepared: Obverse: Unknown; Reverse: 3 or more (one of which was leftover from 1881)
Proof mintage: 1,097. Delivery figures by month: January: none; February: 393; March: 277; April: 49;' May: 70; June: 23; July: 30; August: 10; September: 20; October: 20; November: 40; December: 165.
Characteristics of striking: Often lightly struck with flat head and stars.
This was a Proof-only issue made for collectors. No business strikes were produced.