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    1879 Flowing Hair Stella in Aluminum
    Judd-1637, PR67
    Only a Half Dozen Pieces Believed Known
    Ex: Bass

    1879 $4 Flowing Hair Four Dollar, Judd-1637, Pollock-1835, High R.7, PR67 PCGS. CAC. Ex: H.W. Bass, Jr. Collection. The Charles Barber design features a head of Liberty with flowing hair facing left, with the inscription * 6 * G * .3 * S * .7 * C * 7 * G * R * A * M * S * around and the date, 1879 below. A coronet in Liberty's hair is inscribed LIBERTY. The reverse has a five-pointed star inscribed in incuse lettering ONE STELLA 400 CENTS. Around the star are the mottos DEO EST GLORIA and E PLURIBUS UNUM. At the border above is the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and below is the denomination FOUR DOL. Struck in aluminum with a reeded edge. The name, stella, comes from the Latin word for star on the reverse.

    In 1879, the Honorable John A. Kasson, United State Representative, proposed a four dollar coin of "metric gold" (containing 10% silver) to be internationally acceptable and compete with European coins. A bill was passed authorizing the issue and coins were struck in 1879 and 1880. When Congress noticed that the metric gold was indistinguishable from ordinary coin gold, they killed the authorizing bill.

    This Superb specimen has bright surfaces with the mirrored fields slightly subdued by a light, milky haze. For identification purposes we note three small obverse planchet flaws: in the upper left field below the first 7; in the upper left field to the left of the C; and in the upper right field running from Liberty's hair to the star between G and R. There are three small dark spots on the reverse: on the right portion of the star; on the denticles at 4 o'clock; and on the denticles between 5 and 6 o'clock. The reverse has a similar planchet flaw in the lower right field below the second A in AMERICA. The aluminum strikings are estimated to be fifty times rarer than their gold counterparts and, over the years, many have had post-minting gilting applied. Only a half dozen or so are known in aluminum. Of the greatest rarity and importance to the pattern collector.
    Ex: ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/1999), lot 7777. (NGC ID# 3B4U, PCGS# 62015)

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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2017
    7th-10th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 29
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,653

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