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    1879 Four Dollar Gold Piece, PR65 Cameo
    Flowing Hair Portrait, Judd-1635
    Famous Barber Type

    1879 $4 Flowing Hair, Judd-1635, Pollock-1833, JD-1, R.3, PR65 Cameo NGC. Ex: The Paramount Collection. The design and production of the four dollar stellas of 1879 and 1880 coincided with significant changes in the Mint's Engraving Department. William Barber, who was appointed Chief Engraver after the death of James B. Longacre in 1869, fell ill and died on August 31, 1879 shortly after swimming in the ocean off the New Jersey shore. His son, Charles, who was hired as an Assistant Engraver in 1869, was chosen to replace his father as Chief Engraver on January 20, 1880. Only a few years earlier, in 1876, British engraver George T. Morgan was brought over from England to work alongside the younger Barber. These men would have a significant hand in producing many of the most famous designs in American coinage during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    It has long been suggested that a rivalry existed between the two men, who worked together for more than 40 years. However, an article in the August 2018 issue of The Numismatist by John Frost sheds light on this dynamic period. It dispels many of the enduring myths about Charles Barber, a man often portrayed as a villain in American numismatics.
    Relying on documentation provided by Barber's descendants, Frost suggests in "Reimagining the Barbers" that the supposed tension between Charles Barber and George T. Morgan was fictional. The real tension existed between Mint Director Henry Linderman and Chief Engraver William Barber. Linderman had hired Morgan behind the elder Barber's back, something William did not appreciate. With respect to the relationship between Charles Barber and George Morgan, Frost writes, "Morgan had a reputation as a true gentleman, and he was a solid addition to the department. His 40-year collaboration with Charles Barber was fruitful and collegial." Barber even went to visit Morgan's brother in Birmingham on a European vacation in 1905.

    It has long been believed that the production of the four dollar stella was one of the arenas in which the supposed feud between Charles Barber and George Morgan played out. Many researchers have suggested that Mint Director Linderman took advantage of their difficult relationship by pitting the two men against each other, possibly as a means of determining who would serve as a replacement for William Barber, and possibly to have more patterns created for his own personal collection. Between Frost's article, and Roger Burdette's conclusion in the Spring 2015 edition of the Journal of Numismatic Research that Charles Barber was the man behind the design of both the Flowing Hair and Coiled Hair portraits, we can now safely put that prior belief to rest.

    This Gem Cameo Flowing Hair stella enjoys outstanding contrast between the frosted devices and reflective fields. Yellow-gold surfaces exhibit blushes of reddish color and parallel striae, which are typical. A wonderful example of this famous type.
    From The Paramount Collection. (Registry values: P1)

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

    Weight: 7.00 grams

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

    View all of [The Paramount Collection ]

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2021
    23rd-25th Tuesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
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