1879 $4 COIL HAIR
Extremely Rare 1879 Coiled Hair Stella1879 $4 Coiled Hair, Judd-1638, Pollock-1838, R.6, PR63 NGC. When interest in an international coinage began to be talked about in Washington circles in 1879 it had ripples that reached all the way to Philadelphia. Both of the Mint's engravers were tasked with creating a design for the new "Stella" or four dollar gold piece. Charles Barber chose a flowing hair design (see previous lot) while George Morgan employed a so-called coiled hair motif. Apparently Barber's design was favored as more than 400 pieces were struck with the flowing hair design and dated 1879. Morgan's coiled hair Stella saw very limited production runs with only 10-15 coins produced each year in 1879 and 1880. The actual numbers struck may be somewhat higher (but not by much) as it is generally believed that 13-15 pieces exist of the coiled hair design from each year.
In the past, speculation has turned to the light lines seen in the center of the obverse on most Stellas. Some researchers have claimed these are "adjustment marks" and others assert they are signs that the coins with these lines are restrikes. It seems to us that the Stella was struck about 70 years too late for actual adjustment marks to be made to the planchet in order to lighten it as was done from 1793 through approximately 1807. The subject of restriking simply does not make sense since all known examples show these lines. We believe these lines are merely roller marks made in the Mint when the planchets were passed through steel rollers to reduce their thickness. Bright, greenish-gold color with deeply reflective fields. Softly struck on Liberty's hair curls, as almost always found, there are a few tiny lint marks on each side and a couple of other minute blemishes here and there. However, for the grade this is a lovely, high-end piece with no major impairments.
Ex: Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 1/00), lot 350, where it realized $126,500; Stack's Sale of 3/9/99, lot 134.
From the Genaitis Collection of 1879 Coinage. (NGC ID# 28B2, PCGS# 8058)
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