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1880 Flowing Hair Stella
Struck in Copper, Judd-1658
PR64 Brown, High R.7 as Nongilt Example

1880 $4 Flowing Hair Four Dollar, Judd-1658, Pollock-1858, Low R.7, PR64 Brown NGC. On the obverse the head of Liberty, hair flowing down below her neck, faces left, with the inscription (each character separated by stars) 6 G .3 S .7 C 7 G R A M S around the rim. She wears a coronet bearing the word LIBERTY and with a dotlike ornament at the top in her hair; the date 1880 is below. On the reverse (die common to all 1879 and 1880 stellas) a five-pointed star occupies the center, bearing the legend ONE STELLA / 400 CENTS. In an inner circle are E PLURIBUS UNUM and DEO EST GLORIA ("God is glory"), with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and FOUR DOL. around the outer rim. The date is noticeably smaller than on the 1879 stellas, and quite close to the lowest curl and distant from the denticles. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.
Only recently certified at NGC, this example, like the Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection specimen we offered in January 2009, is among the few nongilt pieces known of this highly elusive copper pattern. states succinctly, "Many of the copper examples have been gilted." At the time we handled the Lemus Collection specimen, a PR66 Red and Brown, it was the only nongilt example certified at NGC--and now this piece makes two. The current Low R.7 rarity rating is based on gilt and nongilt examples combined. Adding in the three (apparently) nongilt specimens certified at PCGS, we believe that the nongilt specimens separately would rate a High R.7 rating, with likely five pieces known--or less, if duplications are present.
While the 1879 Flowing Hair gold stellas are occasionally offered, the 1880 Flowing Hair and Coiled Hair stellas are all very rare to extremely rare, regardless of the metal in which they were struck. (Besides copper, examples in aluminum are also known.) As such, the present piece represents a remarkable opportunity for some astute pattern aficionado.
The Brown designation seems a bit harsh, as each side shows a noticeable outline of mellowed red around the devices. A number of tiny specks of carbon can be made out with the aid of a loupe, and a thin horizontal scratch on Liberty's cheek can also be faintly discerned with magnification. NGC Census: one in PR64 Brown. Only one other example, PR66 Red and Brown, is certified at NGC. PCGS Population: one PR64 Red, one PR64 Red and Brown, one PR63 Brown (3/09).
From The Van Treuren Collection. (NGC ID# 2AJG, PCGS# 62043)

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Auction Dates
Apr-May, 2009
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 9
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