Gem Proof 1880 J-1661 Coiled Hair Stella, Struck in Copper1880 $4 Coiled Hair Four Dollar Stella, Judd-1661, Pollock-1861, R.6, PR65 Brown NGC. George Morgan's Coiled Hair design. Struck in copper with a reeded edge. This Gem representative has subdued luster with olive-brown and tan color on the obverse that retains remnants of original orange mint color. The reverse has intermingled olive, mahogany, and pale green color, also with hints of original mint color. All of the design elements are essentially complete, with slight weakness limited to a few braids of the hair coil on the obverse. Several of the dozen or so examples of this pattern variety have been gilded or gold-plated, perhaps to simulate the appearance of gold for official reasons, or perhaps in an attempt to deceive the coin-buying public. For whatever reasons, about half of the known population are gilt, the other half, including this piece, are not plated.
The entire series of four dollar stellas, struck in various compositions, are rare to extremely rare, with the solitary exception of the 1879 Flowing Hair stella struck in gold. The various pattern issues struck in copper and aluminum are each elusive, with the most plentiful pieces having just a dozen or so examples known. A general population rule is that about 10 to 12 copper examples survive for each variety, while only four or five aluminum examples still exist. As rare as they are, the gold stellas of each date and design are actually more plentiful than any of their off-metal counterparts.
From The Jones Beach Collection. (NGC ID# 3B5E, PCGS# 62046)
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