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Description

1880 Nongilt Flowing Hair Stella in Copper, Judd-1658
PR66 Red and Brown, Finest Certified
One of the Few Nongilt Examples Known

1880 $4 Flowing Hair Four Dollar, Judd-1658, Pollock-1858, Low R.7, PR66 Red and Brown NGC.
Design.
The Charles Barber design. 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 in her hair, and the date 1880 is below. On the reverse (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. Struck in copper with a reeded edge. When one compares the obverse of the 1880 Flowing Hair stellas against the 1879 obverse, one notes that the date is markedly smaller and shifted, nearly touching the lowest hair curls and well separated from the denticles on the 1880 pieces, while the 1879s show a larger date, centered under the truncation, close to the denticles and the hair.

Commentary.
Harry W. Bass, Jr. is a name synonymous with gold coins of the finest stripe--so much so that it is sometimes forgotten that he was also a connoisseur of many other types of coinage and currency, not the least of which was a fine collection of U.S. pattern coinage. The Harry Bass, Jr. Core Collection contains several examples of the 1879 and 1880 stellas, in gold and aluminum. The useful Harry W. Bass, Jr. Museum Sylloge, written by Q. David Bowers, contains much valuable (and some just plain interesting) information on patterns. One section, "Personalities in the Field of Patterns," has the following to say concerning Dr. J. Hewitt Judd, whom they style as a "collector, writer about patterns 1940s-1950s":

"Dr. Judd, whose name appeared on United States Pattern, Trial, and Experimental Pieces, copyrighted in 1959 but distributed in 1961 by Whitman Publishing Company, was a medical doctor in Omaha, Nebraska. Judd enjoyed coins immensely and collected patterns extensively, but to say he was a dedicated scholar would not be correct. Rather, he appreciated pieces for their beauty. Abe Kosoff urged him to finance the research for a reference work, and eventually a book was published under Dr. Judd's name. However, nearly all of the information in the first edition came either from the 1913 Adams-Woodin text on the subject or from Walter H. Breen, who did much research in the National Archives. Relatively little work was done by Dr. Judd himself, although his contribution was valuable if for no other reason than he served as a clearing house for what others did."

Although his "book" has now been through nine editions as of this writing, the U.S. pattern coin series continues to be attributed by "Judd numbers."

Physical Description.
Extremely rare as a nongilt copper example of the 1880 Flowing Hair stella. (The Low R.7 rating in Judd is based on gilt and nongilt examples combined.) Softly glowing red-orange covers most of the obverse, along with a generous dollop of forest-green immediately above Liberty's head. The reverse offers a similar palette, with deeper purple replacing the orange. Both the 1880 Flowing Hair and Coiled Hair stellas are extremely rare regardless of which metal they are struck in. Most examples of the Judd-1658 are gilt--NGC has certified eight in all grades. In PR66 Red and Brown this nongilt piece is the only example certified at NGC, and there are only one PR64 Red and one PR64 Red and Brown at PCGS (10/08). The finest gilt piece is a single PR65 NGC example. The finest certified, and a significant opportunity.

Provenance.
Unknown.
From The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two. (PCGS# 72043)

View all of [The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two ]

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Auction Info

Auction Dates
January, 2009
7th-11th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 9
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