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NGC 1880 Flowing Hair PR 65. Judd-1657. During the 1870s the idea of an internationally convertible coin received much support from two men in Washington, Dana Bickford and Representative John A. Kasson. Several patterns were struck as a result of their efforts, the most famous of which were the four-dollar gold pieces or stellas of 1879 and 1880. While technically a pattern issue, there were sufficient quantities minted that this curious coin has long been collected as a part of regular issue U.S. coinage.
First struck in 1879, the Flowing Hair design was engraved by young Charles Barber and was struck again in 1880. George Morgan also produced a design for the stella with the figure of Liberty having coiled hair. The overwhelming majority of Flowing Hair stellas are dated 1879 with 415 pieces reportedly struck. Mint records indicate that only 15 pieces were produced in 1880, but this number is obviously in error as some 18-25 examples are known today, making the total minted probably around 50 coins. As an individual issue, the 1880 Flowing Hair is closer in rarity to the famed Coiled Hair pieces. The 1880 is 12 to 15 times scarcer than its 1879 Flowing Hair counterpart, but it seldom sells for more than twice the price.
This is an amazing stella, regardless of year or design type. The surfaces are uncleaned, and thus unhairlined, with only a few small contact marks seen on either side, none of which are mentionable or distracting. There is only a small black speck of grease or verdigris on the bridge of the nose that could be used as an identifying mark. Both sides exhibit the light die striations that are almost invariably seen on stellas, but these of course are not deep or distracting, and are only mentioned for the sake of accuracy. Bright, reflective fields, the devices are lightly frosted. A solid gem example of this famous numismatic rarity. (NGC ID# 2AJG, PCGS# 8059)

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Auction Dates
February, 1995
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 2
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