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Description

Legendary Judd-1635 1879 Flowing Hair
Stella in Gold, PR58

1879 $4 Flowing Hair, Judd-1635, Pollock-1832, R.3, PR58 NGC. CAC. The production of the 1879 Flowing Hair stellas and various other numismatic delicacies was the subject of great consternation on the part of collectors and dealers who were left outside of the Mint's "inner circle" during the mid- to late 19th century, a time when the worst abuses seem to have occurred. The Judd pattern reference for 1879 frames the striking of the 1879-dated stellas in this way:

"It was announced by someone, perhaps a Mint official, that 15 of the 1879 Flowing Hair $4 Stellas were struck, these as patterns, but there was a sufficient demand for them that a few hundred more were struck for congressmen, who are allowed to acquire them for $6.50 each. This was an era of great secrecy at the Mint, and virtually the entire pattern coinage of 1879, including the 'Washlady' and Schoolgirl silver coins, were produced for the private profit of Mint officials. These were not given to congressmen or openly sold to collectors at the time, and, indeed, for many issues, their very existence was not disclosed. Collectors learned of them years later, and at the time were only able to piece together information as no facts are known to have been recorded. There was furor concerning the 1879 Flowing Hair Stella, and dealer S.K. Harzfeld, for one, sought to find about it. This and other efforts led to certain pieces being available to the numismatic fraternity."


Certainly, today's collectors have benefited from the existence of the 1879 Flowing Hair stellas. Offered here is a PR58 example, distinctly rubbed on the high points and a touch in the fields, yet with undeniable reflectivity in pools around the peripheral elements. Saturated honey-gold color takes on a greenish overtone in places, most notably in the field to the right of the portrait. A great coin that, thanks to a hint of rub, is accessible to a wider range of collectors than it might have been otherwise.(Registry values: P1) (NGC ID# 28AZ, PCGS# 8057)

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Auction Info

Auction Dates
August, 2011
11th-14th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 13
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Page Views: 1,172

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