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    Description

    1879 Flowing Hair Stella, PR65
    Judd-1635, First Generation Holder
    Distinctive Design in American Coinage

    1879 $4 Flowing Hair, Judd-1635, Pollock-1833, JD-1, R.3, PR65 PCGS. CAC. United States Mint Chief Engraver Charles Barber's design for the 1879 Flowing Hair stella is unlike anything seen on regular circulating American coinage. The obverse features a portrait of Liberty facing left with long flowing locks down past the truncation of the bust, and the date below. That profile was based on an 1878 half eagle pattern by William Barber, designated at Judd-1574, Pollock-1766. Around the border is★ 6★ G★ .3★ S★ .7★ C★ 7★ G★ R★ A★ M★ S★ , signifying the coin's supposed metallurgical composition (six grams gold, 0.3 grams silver, 0.7 grams copper, for a total of seven grams), though most stellas are believed to be .900 gold.

    The reverse is even more unconventional. A single pentagonal star dominates the center. It features a beaded border and the inscription ONE / STELLA / 400 / CENTS. The outer legend reads UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / FOUR DOL., while an inner legend features E PLURIBUS UNUM above and DEO EST GLORIA ("God is the Glory") below. Although Charles Barber engraved the reverse die, the design itself was William Wheeler Hubbell's conception. Hubbell proposed the stella as part of an international metric coinage scheme that ultimately failed. Additionally, while two distinct portrait types exist for the 1879 and 1880 stellas (Flowing Hair and Coiled Hair), this same reverse was paired with both.

    Estimated mintages for the 1879 Flowing Hair stella, the usually seen variant among the four four dollar gold issues, have historically ranged from 400 to more than 700 pieces. However, Mint records show deliveries as follows: 25 in December 1879/January 1880, 100 in March 1880, and 300 in May 1880 for a total of 425 coins. Most certified survivors are in non-Cameo categories, and the issue claims an average grade of PR62.

    This Gem is housed in a first generation PCGS "rattler" holder and boasts an endorsement from CAC for quality within the grade. Orange-gold surfaces exhibit moderate contrast between the frosted devices and glassy fields, though the latter appear ever so slightly dusky. Copper accents grace each side. Horizontal striae from the draw bench occur at the centers, as usual.
    From The Oswald Maxwell Collection. (Registry values: P1)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 28AZ, PCGS# 8057)

    Weight: 7.00 grams

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


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2021
    18th-22nd Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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