1882 PR67 Ultra Cameo Trade $1 NGC. From 1879 to 1885 only proof Trade Dollar strikings were made by the mint in Philadelphia as the various mints were instead making large quantities of Morgan dollars. The proof Trade dollars were not exported as were the earlier business strikes and many subsequently were mishandled or lost. Yet specimens are available through the PR64 level though they are difficult to acquire in better condition.
The design elements are exquisitely struck with no areas displaying signs of weakness. Both sides reveal an Ultra cameo effect. As implied by the grade designation the surfaces on both sides are virtually perfect. Secretary of the Treasury John Sherman halted the production of business strike Trade dollars on February 22 1878 and thereafter the type was issued only in proof format. The coin was unneeded as beginning in 1878 the nation’s mints were engrossed in manufacturing prodigious amounts of similarly unneeded Morgan dollars.
The mintage of the 1882 is pegged at 1097 pieces a normal mintage for a proof issue of the era. The large production is explained in Bowers’ Silver Dollars and Trade Dollars of the United States: “There arose in 1879 and continued into 1880 a popular numismatic speculation (later extended to the general public). Word spread that certain coins were of low mintage and would become rare. The ‘best’ condition was considered to be Proofs (business strikes were not available in the trade dollar series). Emphasis was on nickel three-cent pieces and trade dollars both denominations of which were minted in record Proof numbers. A heightened interest developed in other Mint products as well especially patterns. Several years later this speculation would extend to regular issue Proof and business strike gold dollars.”
The short-lived fervor for proof pieces of the two years likely accounts for the existence of numerous high-grade examples. The present survivor of the 1882 issue could justifiably keep company with those legendary 1884 and 1885 Trade dollars although at a much lower price! NGC has certified only 2 finer.
The surfaces are expectedly free of even the most trivial impairments.