The British victory in the Opium Wars gave European and American trade interests the opportunity to greatly expand into the Far East. International trade flourished and silver coins from around the world flowed into China. The coins that were used included the Spanish Dollar, Mexican Dollar, Japanese Trade Dollar, and United States Trade Dollar. The British Trade dollar was introduced in 1895 to reduce merchants reliance on foreign coins. Like the other circulating dollars, the coin was produced from silver with a millesimal fineness of 900.
The British Trade Dollar was designed by British medallist George William De Saulles and was minted fairly consistently between 1895 and 1935. The obverse features a dramatic rendering of Britannia with the date of issue below and the legend stating 'One Dollar'. The reverse has the Chinese symbol for longevity as the focal point with further characters in Chinese and Malay stating the denomination. On both sides the periphery is heavily decorated by a repeating geometric pattern and beaded border. Coins bearing the mint mark 'B' on the centre prong of Britannia's trident were produced at the Bombay Mint. Coins bearing the mint mark 'C' on the ground between Britannia's left foot and the base of the shield were produced in Calcutta. Coins bearing neither mint-mark were produced at the Royal Mint in London.