Neil S Berman - Expert Numismatist & Silver Coin Dealer
Silver Coins Trade through History
British Trade Dollar
Great Britain greatly expanded their trading interests in the East, especially after the founding of Singapore in 1819. The British decided it was necessary to produce a special Dollar for foreign trade as so as to remove the reliance of British Colonies upon the Spanish, Mexican, and other various foreign silver trade coins then in circulation. British Trade Dollars for trade in were a direct result of the Opium Wars in 1839-1843 and 1856-1860, which began when China tried to stop Britain from selling opium to its citizens. China lost the war and had to open up several of ports to British trade and ceded Hong Kong to Great Britain in 1842. In the decades that followed, British and British colonial merchants flocked to these areas, and international trade flourished. Foreign banks were established and large silver coins from all over the world began arriving to pay for tea, silk and Chinese porcelain to be shipped abroad. These .900 fine silver trade dollars were then circulated throughout China, where they were readily accepted as a medium of exchange. The British Trade Dollars were minted exclusively for use in the Far East.