The British Trade Dollar

The British Trade Dollar —  an unmissable opportunity to own a highly-collectable historic coin  — first minted over a century ago!  

  • A carefully sourced, authentic coin from the age of Britain’s Empire — minted from 1895 to 1935

  • An unmissable opportunity to own a piece of British history

  • Struck in .900 silver the coin contains .78 troy ounces of silver

  • It’s large size — 39mm in diameter allows you to appreciate the exquisite design by Royal Mint engraver George William DeSaulles of 1895

  • An authentic artefact that deserves to be passed down to future generations

  • Included with your coin is an informative Certificate of Authenticity, which not only guarantees your coin’s provenance but also provides a fascinating insight into the history of the British Trade Dollar.

  • A powerful representation of Britain’s maritime strength and integrity this solid silver coin is a must-have for all collectors


S&S: £3.99

Available in 3 instalments of £99.00 Comes with our no-quibble 14-day money-back guarantee | Orders are limited to one coin per customer
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A rare opportunity to own an authentic British Trade Dollar — first issued over a century ago — your chance to hold a piece of history in your hands

The British Trade Dollar takes you back in time to the era of Empire, when Britannia ruled the waves and Britain ruled an Empire on which the sun never set. It is a coin that no collection should be without and yet surprisingly, it is a coin that relatively few people are aware of.


 A British Dollar — the coin’s name alone makes you wonder how it came to be

This coin’s history is a fascinating one. It was quite literally the coin that got the tea out of China —and back to the United Kingdom.  It’s not an ancient piece, it dates back just 124 years, yet its history was relatively short-lived as it circulated for a mere 40 years.  The British Trade Dollar was born out of the necessity to trade with China and Britain’s colonies in the East. The region’s long-trusted standard coin of trade had, for centuries, been the Mexican 8 Reales aka the Spanish Silver dollar or ‘pieces of eight’. Not wanting to rely on the dwindling supply of foreign coins, in the late nineteenth century Britain decided to mint its own rival coin, from its own supplies of silver. Thus in 1895 the British Trade Dollar was born and given legal tender status in the British colonies.


A magnificent coin Struck in Solid .900 silver — a global standard

Importantly Britain’s new silver trade coin mirrored the exact same specification as the Spanish Silver Dollar. It weighed 26.95 grams and was crafted in 0.900 fine silver. It is a large, valuable silver coin with a diameter of 39mm containing 0.78 troy ounces of silver. Rather than being given a sterling value; its value fluctuated according to the prices of silver at any given date. Of course, today, the coin’s value to collectors as a historic piece far exceeds the value of its silver content.


Widely traded at the time — this coin has become a highly-collectable rarity

Apart from ardent numismatic collectors, relatively few people have heard of the British Trade Dollar. The reason for its anonymity is uncertain; perhaps because it circulated for such a short period of time; perhaps because it circulated far from home; maybe because it was quickly demonetised, or even because a British Dollar seems somewhat of an anomaly. What is certain is that this coin secured Britain as the single most powerful economic force of its time — with tea, silks and spices travelling across the Empire and Commonwealth. For sure, without the British Trade Dollar tea would have been a drink reserved only for the very few and the very wealthy!


A Very British coin with an eastern Edge

The coin’s dramatic design was the work of Royal Mint engraver George William De Saulles. Today, we’re familiar with the design of a helmeted Britannia on our silver coinage, but when this coin was first introduced 124 years ago, this portrayal of Britannia was a world-first. Despite the coin’s age, the design with Britannia in her flowing robe holding her trident & shield, with the merchant ship to her right looks strikingly modern. To ensure the coin’s acceptance by traders in the Orient, Britannia is surrounded by a Chinese scroll-pattern. The reverse shows the same scroll design with the denomination in Chinese and Arabic script of the Malay language; at the centre is the Chinese character “shou” for longevity.


This coin is a carefully curated historic original from the period

The Bradford Exchange has sought out the finest specimens of these historic coins, for our collectors. These coins are not replicas or modern re-strikes; each coin is a carefully curated original struck in .900 silver.

This rather unassuming piece of silver enabled trade in the far-flung reaches of the Empire, at a time when the Empire was at the height of its power. As such, it holds an unrivalled place in British history, but above all, it is an extraordinarily beautiful silver coin.  Order your British Trade Dollar today!

The British Trade Dollar

Year of Issue

1895 - 1935


One Dollar


.900 Silver


26.95 g






Standing figure of Britannia holding trident and shield with a merchant ship in the background, date in exergue by George William de Saulles 1895


Chinese characters and Jawi script in ornamental flower surround the symbol of the Chinese labyrinth — one of the many variations of the Chinese character “Shou” that represents longevity