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Lot
6234

1879 Flowing Hair, Judd-1635, Pollock-1832, R.3, PR66 Cameo ...

2004 June Long Beach Signature Sale #349

 
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Auction Ended On: Jun 3, 2004
Item Activity: 12 Internet/mail/phone bidders
701 page views
Location: Long Beach, CA
Description:
Remarkably Preserved Cameo Proof 66 1879 Stella
1879 Flowing Hair, Judd-1635, Pollock-1832, R.3, PR66 Cameo NGC. The Stella, or Four Dollar gold piece, was proposed by John Kasson as an international coin whose value would be roughly equivalent to that of an Austrian 8-florin. The coin was designed by Chief Engraver Charles Barber in 1879 prepared an obverse design that depicted a portrait of Liberty facing left with long, flowing hair. The date appeared at the bottom and the inscription 6 G .3 S .7 C 7 G R A M S around the central portrait. With stars in between each character, this inscription advertised the coins' weight as 7 grams and gave the proportionate composition of gold, silver, and copper. The reverse depicted ONE STELLA 400 CENTS superimposed atop a five pointed star with the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM, DEO EST GLORIA (God is glorious), and FOUR DOL. in the surrounding field. Using these dies, the Philadelphia Mint struck approximately 15 examples in the specified (metric alloy) in December 1879. Early the following year, a further 400 or so (90% gold alloy) pieces followed, also dated 1879, although careless Mint employees improperly spaced the dies with the result that these later examples display weak definition on the hair over Liberty's ear. These were widely distributed around Washington to popularize the proposed new denomination, but were soon forgotten when the international gold coin was rejected by Congress.
The present example displays deeply mirrored fields and thickly frosted devices. With slightly soft central hair features and planchet striations that were not obliterated through striking, this specimen is an unmistakable survivor of the 1880 delivery. The metric gold alloy inscribed on the obverse probably describes this coin's composition, although, as stated earlier, the Philadelphia Mint did strike an undetermined number (probably 400) coins on standard gold planchets. We cannot, therefore, say for certain whether this coin contains a metric or standard gold alloy. There is, however, little doubt surrounding the rarity and desirability of Charles E. Barber's Flowing Hair Stella among advanced gold type collectors. The memorable eye appeal of the honey-gold surfaces is hardly diminished by a slight overlay of milky patina. For pedigree purposes, an inconspicuous dark toning spot over the second U of UNUM is visible on the reverse. Still, this is one of the finest Stellas available in today's market and is destined for the collection of an advanced gold enthusiast. (#8057) (NGC ID# 28AZ, PCGS# 8057)

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