Coin and Paper Money Collecting/1877 silver dollar


I have an 1877 trade dollar. It has been modified at some point in time, to open, and attached to the back is a hinged ring, that is attached to the front. Are you familiar with this coin? What is the value?


You likely have what's known as an "opium dollar" or a "coin box".

In the 19th Century, United States Trade Dollars and some Morgan Dollars were made into, what was called, "Opium" boxes. This is a bit misleading as this coin box was probably not used to carry opium. Trade Dollars circulated in China as a trade unit. Opium was prevalent there and China was also the place where many of the boxes were made as novelties. The relationship to China, Opium and the Trade Dollar gained this creation the American tag name of "Opium Dollar".

These generally sell in the $200 to $300 range in good condition.

You may want to check the U.S. $1 coin category under coins and currency on eBay from time to time to see if your piece is listed what it may bring.

If you live close to a local shop, they should offer an opinion as to their value at no charge. Should you decide to sell your coin to a dealer, remember they will offer about 50% to 60% of the retail value. Always try and get at least two opinions and try and deal with PNG dealers if possible. Here's a link to find one in your area:

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Ronald Fern


I can answer most all questions relating to US coins, tokens, and currency. I'm not strong on world coins or ancients. Primary field of expertise is errors and varieties. Over 55 years experience in coin collecting. Part time dealer since 1976. Employed by McDonnell Douglas/Boeing for over 34 years as an Industrial Engineer/Technical Specialist before retiring in 2002.


Worked weekends for "Lonesome" John in the late 1960's to mid 1970's processing error coins, packaging, and preparing orders. Worked with John Devine and Fred Weinberg on several California Error A Rama's in the early 1970's. Served as display judge at annual Error-A-Rama coin shows. Opened and operated mail order coin business DBA "CAL ERRORS" in 1976. Contributor to Alan Herbert's "Official Price Guide To Mint Errors" and Fivaz/Stanton "Cherrypickers' Guide". Worked Saturdays at Huntington Beach Coin Exchange 1980-1999. Had table and sold coins at a number of coin and gun shows in So CA, AZ and NV. Sell coins, tokens and currency on Facebook. Past "Errorscope" Editor. Presently CONECA Examiner.


Errorscope, Numismatic News, Civil War Token Journal, Error and Variety News

AA Degree LBCC pre Engineering, 1964 BS Degree CSULB Ind Technology, 1968

Awards and Honors
1st Place EAR Trophy for Civil War Token Errors, NLG Author of Year Award for best monthly coin column "Error News and Views" in small Numismatic paper, owned and published by Ray Anthony.

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