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Possibly Unique 1879 Flowing Hair Stella
Stuck in Aluminum, Gilt, Judd-1637, PR64

1879 $4 Flowing Hair Four Dollar, Judd-1637, R.8, PR64 Gilt NGC. This piece is an accompaniment to the marvelous complete five-piece 1879-80 stella set, one each of the Flowing Hair and Coiled Hair stellas, struck in gilt copper, along with the gilt copper 1879 quintuple stella. The present offering is an 1879 Flowing Hair, the Charles Barber design, here struck in aluminum with a reeded edge.
It is an acute irony, given their vast popularity, but only the gold 1879 Flowing Hair stellas can be considered anything less than markedly rare. The 1879 Flowing Hair gold stellas were distributed to the extent of several hundred examples, first to Congressmen, then to the collecting public, as part of three-piece sets that also contained two goloid metric dollars.
A tiny number of aluminum and copper three-piece sets were apparently also struck, and one cannot help but wonder if those were for the purpose of lining the pockets of incoming Mint Director Horatio Burchard, who continued the parade of delicacies emanating from the Mint through 1885. states that four aluminum examples are known, including the Browning, Woodin-Newcomer, Brand, and Maris-Garrett-Bass specimens. There is no record of any gilt pieces, however, either on, in the Pollock reference, or others. It may be the case that this is the only gilt-aluminum example of this pattern issue in existence, a possibly unique piece of the highest importance.
This gilt example is a pleasing yellow-gold representative with accents of green, mildly reflective fields, and hazy toning. The strike is sharply detailed throughout, and there are few blemishes. A small dark spot is visible in the right reverse field to assist in future identification.
Ex: Jones Beach Collection (Heritage, 1/2007), lot 1591, which realized $32,200. (NGC ID# 2AHT, PCGS# 62016)

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Auction Dates
January, 2011
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 10
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