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    1879 Flowing Hair Stella, PR64 Deep Cameo
    Judd-1635, Proposed International Gold Coin

    1879 $4 Flowing Hair, Judd-1635, Pollock-1833, R.3, PR64 Deep Cameo PCGS. CAC. The history of the enigmatic four dollar gold coins is both fascinating and confounding. The circumstances of their production and release have been confused by a lack of conclusive evidence, and their status as patterns coins has been muddled by the place they take in the yearly edition of the Guide Book, creating a situation whereby collectors from a wide range of disciplines and specialties include the denomination on their want lists.

    In effect, the stellas are the result of a partnership between Dr. William Wheeler Hubbell, patentee of the goloid composition, and the Hon. John A. Kasson, a former congressman with experience in international postal and currency systems, and diplomatic affairs. Kasson sought the establishment of a four dollar denomination, struck in metric weight from an alloy of gold, silver, and copper, that would be easily convertible with other international trade coins like the French 20 franc and the Austrian eight florin. Congress was initially receptive to Kasson's proposal and requested patterns be struck and distributed to its members for final approval.

    Engravers Charles Barber and George Morgan each submitted an obverse design. Barber's Flowing Hair design, arguably his most artistic, was ultimately chosen over Morgan's Coiled Hair design. Struck to the extent of 425 to 725 pieces (the figure varies significantly by source) and with approximately 200 to 250 survivors, the 1879 Flowing Hair issue is by far the most available date in the set -- highlighting just how challenging the series is as a whole. A small quantity of 1879 Coiled Hair, 1880 Flowing Hair, and 1880 Coiled Hair pieces were also struck for numismatic purposes and issued in three-coin sets. The latter pieces are all very rare and inaccessible for most collectors, if not because of the high prices they realize then because of the infrequency with which they appear at auction. Note that we are delighted to have each of the four stella varieties included as part of this sale, a rare occurrence and an exceptional opportunity for the advanced collector to assemble a complete set.

    This is a magnificent example of this short-lived experimental coin. The fields are deeply reflective and establish a "black" background against which the frosted devices appear in cameo contrast. The coin's color is pale reddish-gold, but yellow-gold is primarily the color the viewer sees and remembers. Faint die striations are seen on the central devices, as always. Very few post-striking defects can be located. There is a small cluster of planchet voids seen above the head of Liberty that are reliable pedigree identifiers. Population: 11 in 64 (1 in 64+) Deep Cameo, 15 finer (2/15).
    From The Big Sky Collection.(Registry values: P1)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 28AZ, PCGS# 98057)

    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 Big Sky Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    22nd-26th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 23
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,774

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