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    1879 Four Dollar Stella, PR63 Cameo
    Judd-1635, Flowing Hair
    Iconic Design

    1879 $4 Flowing Hair, Judd-1635, Pollock-1833, JD-1, R.3, PR63 Cameo NGC. The 1879 and 1880 four dollar gold stellas have been called some of "the most popular U.S. coins ever produced" by Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth, who referred to them as such in their 100 Greatest U.S. Coins reference (fourth edition). The stellas took 18th place in that listing, ahead of the 1877 half union patterns and the 1792 disme.

    Given that these four dollar gold pieces never circulated, it is fair to ask why they stand head and shoulders above nearly every other 19th century pattern as far as collector demand is concerned. Numbers one and two would be their odd denomination and iconic design, although not necessarily in that order.

    The United States Mint has put out a number of strange, seemingly needless coinage denominations over its 228 year history, including the two and three cent coins, a short-lived twenty cent piece, and the three dollar gold piece, but none of them stand out quite like these four dollar coins.

    The 1878 and 1880 stellas feature two different obverse designs, one with a Flowing Hair portrait of Liberty and the other showing a Coiled Hair portrait. Around each are a series of stars, letters, and numbers -- shorthand for the stella's supposed composition: six grams of gold, 0.3 grams of silver, and 0.7 grams of copper for a total of 7 grams. The singular reverse design, conceived by the stella's originator, Dr. William Wheeler Hubbell, has a central pentagonal star inscribed ONE / STELLA / 400 / CENTS with E PLURIBUS UNUM above and DEO EST GLORIA below, and the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA along the upper border with the denomination FOUR DOLLARS below. Busy as it may be, the stella's design is immediately recognizable and absolutely unique in American coinage.

    Of the four types extant, the 1879 Flowing Hair coins are the only ones that can be considered collectible. It is believed that 425 examples were struck over a period of time beginning in December 1879 and lasting through May 1880. Locating a high-grade 1879 Flowing Hair stella should not pose to much of an issue, but adding an example to one's collection is something entirely different. These coins are always in high demand and strongly contested at every appearance. Ownership of any example, regardless of condition, remains a point of pride for even the most advanced enthusiasts.

    This Select proof with designated Cameo contrast enjoys profound reflectivity and a touch of frost over the devices, especially the central reverse star. The strike is typically strong everywhere except the centers, where roller marks are present. It is thought that most stellas were actually struck on planed-down half eagle planchets, although it is not known for certain -- just one of the many fascinating stories behind the production of these classic U.S. patterns.(Registry values: P1)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 28AZ, PCGS# 88057)

    Weight: 7.00 grams

    Metal: 86% Gold, 4% Silver, 10% Copper

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2020
    4th-7th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 32
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,078

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