The 1878-S Trade dollar is known as a common date, even in Mint State grades, but this is a relative term as far as the series is concerned, since most business strikes were still being exported to China.
Thus, there are hundreds of Uncirculated survivors, but that is from an original mintage exceeding 4.1 million pieces. Only three examples carry numerical grades in excess of MS66, all at PCGS, who have certified an additional 10 pieces as MS66+. NGC has yet to certify an 1878-S trade dollar higher than MS66.
In our 2016 July 7 – 10 Summer FUN US Coins Signature Auction in Orlando, we are offering an example of this date that offers inherent and aesthetic advantages that make it a top-notch type coin. This marvelous Premium Gem, certified by PCGS, is fully struck and intensely lustrous, both sides displaying a pleasing mix of sea-green, gold, and rose coloration. The surfaces are well-preserved, with two or three minor marks on the obverse and a nearly blemish-free reverse.
There is minor die doubling on most of the reverse lettering, most noticeable on 420 GRAINS and on TRADE, but the doubled reverse appears to match neither of the Cherrypickers’ varieties in that reference.
PCGS-Certified Trade Dollars Currently Available on eBay