Despite the poor quality of the image, the above 1874 Counterfeit Trade Dollar is a pretty close match to the authentic 1873 Trade Silver Dollar. However, if you look closer you can see some inconsistencies in the strike. On the reverse you can see an overall weakness and depth of the design features, letters, etc.

Also, the letters and numbers are not as "crisp" or cut as sharply as the authentic Trade Dollar. Another common theme among counterfeit silver dollars is their "dirty" appearance, but don't think they all have these problems or appearances.

Trade Silver Dollars are the most accurately counterfeited series and these fakes have fooled even some serious collectors. So, be very weary on purchasing any Trade Dollar. If you're not sure or confident in your ability to detect counterfeits than only buy authenticated examples in PCGS, NGC, ANACS or ICG third party grading service holders.
Counterfeit
The above image is an example of an 1872 Trade Dollar, and I could point out many features that make this coin fake, but the bottom line is that NO Trade Dollars where produced in 1872! If you don't know this fact already than please look over our website, for this info, or buy an authoritative coin book.

You will find counterfeit coins, like the above Trade Dollar, and some a little different at ebay, ioffer, and many other online auction sites and physical markets, and I encourage buyers not to be fooled into thinking that they are going to obtain a rare coin type, date and mint mark for a low price.

Authentic rare coins cost money because they ARE rare, and just because a vendor or seller doesn't know if the coin is real or not, doesn't mean they are being truthful or that they are selling an authentic rare coin either. The seller is a person, just like anyone else (albeit some are dishonest), and they have found or purchased or produced these coins and are attempting to sale them to make money.

What matters the most is that YOU, the buyer, realize when a coin is fake! An authoritative coin book might cost $10-$15, but buying a counterfeit coin can cost you a couple hundred or even thousands of dollars, so be smart, educate yourself, and don't buy something you don't know much about.
1873 Authentic Silver Trade Dollar Image
1874 Countefeit Fake Silver Trade Dollar
Counterfeit
Authentic
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Each silver dollar type above was only minted during these years as shown, but you also must take note of what mint mark was used on each year, and never buy a year that has a mint mark not used for that year. In example, a 1921-CC Morgan Dollar never existed nor does an 1872 Trade Dollar. So know your types, know your dates for each type, and know the mints that minted the coin date for each year.

Counterfeit/Fake Silver Trade Dollar Image Comparisons