Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    1879 Flowing Hair Stella, PR63 Cameo
    Starkly Contrasted
    Bright Yellow-Gold Color, Judd-1635

    1879 $4 Flowing Hair, Judd-1635, Pollock-1833, R.3, PR63 Cameo NGC. The United States Mint had had its fair share of failed denominations by the time it was considering an all-new four dollar gold coin. Since its founding in 1792, the Mint had already created and abolished the half cent, half dime, two cent, three cent silver, twenty cent, and Trade dollar. By 1889 it would also abolish the three cent nickel, gold dollar, and the three dollar gold piece. But for a brief period between 1878 and 1880 there was some discussion about the usefulness of a four dollar gold coin within an entirely new system of metric coinage.

    The idea for a four dollar gold piece originated as an idea for a coin of equal value to the standard gold coins of the Latin Monetary Union, suggested by the American ambassador in Austria-Hungary, John A. Kasson. However, it was an enterprising Pennsylvanian polymath, Dr. William Wheeler Hubbell, who, in the midst of lobbying for a new system of metric and goloid coinage, proposed this four dollar gold pattern. Hubbell was something of a snake oil salesman, a self-described expert who, despite having many deeply flawed ideas, garnered the highest praise and admiration of Representative Alexander H. Stephens, the chairman of the Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures. Stephens wrote to Treasury Secretary Sherman in February 1879, stating that he found Dr. Hubbell "to be the profoundest expert on such subjects [coinage and metallurgy] I ever met with ... ." It shows just how little the chairman himself understood the matters at hand.

    With Rep. Stephens forcefully pushing his agenda, Hubbell was able to have the Mint produce a host of coinage patterns, including a series of four dollar stellas. Two obverse designs were created, one with a Flowing Hair portrait and the other with a Coiled Hair motif. Hubbell dictated the reverse design elements, which were then modeled by Charles Barber. The reverse, unique to this set of patterns, is highly admired among collectors. It features a large pentagonal star at the center with ONE STELLA / 400 CENTS incused and the motto DEO EST GLORIA below.

    It is believed that 425 1879 Flowing Hair stellas were issued in three-coin sets along with Metric dollars and Goloid dollars. Sets could be purchased by congressmen for $6.10. Collectors later had the chance to purchase the remaining sets for $15. The stella never came to pass as an authorized denomination. However, these patterns are eagerly sought-after and considered among regular issues. This particular stella displays deeply reflective proof fields and bright yellow-gold color. The strike is sharply detailed, except of course in the center of the obverse where the always-encountered striations are seen.
    From The HBC Collection. (Registry values: P1) (NGC ID# 28B2, PCGS# 88057)

    Weight: 7.00 grams

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

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [The HBC Collection ]

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    Calculate Standard Domestic Shipping

    Sales Tax information  | NGC Coin Grading Guarantee  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2019
    9th-14th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 16
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 396

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 37 days left to consign to the 2019 April 24 - 30 Central States World Coins Signature Auction - Chicago!

    Learn about consigning with us

    The pre-sale publicity was more than I imagined, and the actual catalog better than I had expected - and my expectations were high!
    [ Entire Letter » ]
    Jim Beasley, Tilden Coin Company,
    Allamonte Springs, FL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 January 9 - 14 FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Orlando
    2019 January 9 - 14 FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Orlando
    REALIZED SO FAR $43,721,919
    2019 January 6 - 7 NYINC World Coins Signature Auction - New York
    2019 January 6 - 7 NYINC World Coins Signature Auction - New York
    REALIZED SO FAR $15,369,083
    2019 January 10 - 14 FUN World Currency Signature Auction - Orlando
    2019 January 10 - 14 FUN World Currency Signature Auction - Orlando
    REALIZED SO FAR $2,392,597