History of the British Trade Dollar

History of the British Trade Dollar

Jul 12 , 2022

In 1895 the British Trade Dollar was introduced following the need for British Merchants to trade freely in the Orient without having to rely on the supply of foreign silver coins.

A British coin with an eastern feel, the British Trade Dollar was minted exclusively for use in the Far East. It depicted, for the first time on a coin, a helmet-wearing Britannia holding a trident and the British shield with a merchant ship in the background.

These silver coins were issued to the same specification as the famous Spanish Dollar – the international trade coin of the time and most trusted silver coin in the Orient trade. The need for a coin unrelated to a foreign country’s mint or silver supplies, which could be minted on demand allowed British Merchants to take advantage of the silk, porcelain spice and tea trade in the Orient which flourished at the end of the First Opium War.

The British Trade Dollar was just the second coin minted by the British purely for international trade, after the ‘Portcullis Money’ or Testern silver coin of 1601, issued by Queen Elizabeth I for The East India Companies first voyage to the East.

Explore our Exclusive Trade Dollar Collection inspired by the fascinating coins that travelled the high seas all in the name of trade and commerce.