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    Desirable Deep Cameo Proof 1879 Flowing Hair Stella

    1879 $4 $4 Flowing Hair, Judd-1635, Pollock-1832, 1833, R.3, 6, PR63 Deep Cameo PCGS. Although there is no such thing as a common four-dollar gold Stella, the 1879 Flowing Hair version is the most attainable for the type collector. Technically a pattern coin that was never struck for circulation, these coins have been listed in the standard price guides for many years, and are often considered part of the regular issue coinage. The Stella was part of a series of pattern coins issued with the intent of a metric coinage that would be accepted overseas alongside many European gold coins. The Honorable John Kasson, United States Minister to Austria, urged Congress to produce a coin similar in value to the Austrian eight florins gold coin then in circulation. That coin had a gold value of just under four dollars, thus the reason this denomination was proposed. Several other gold coins had a similar value, including the French 20 francs ($3.86), the German 20 marks ($4.76), the British sovereign ($4.76), the Italian 20 lire ($3.86), the Netherlands 10 gulden ($4.02), the Swiss 20 francs ($3.86), and the Russian 5 roubles ($3.98).
    The obverse inscription specifies the intended composition and fineness as 6 grams gold, 0.3 grams silver, and 0.7 grams copper, for a total weight of 7 grams. This created another challenge, as the standard in use for American coinage was 90% gold alloyed with 10% copper. This meant that production of the four-dollar pieces would require an entirely different refining process that ultimately led to the demise of this coinage proposal. In reality, the patterns were produced by further reducing the thickness of planchet stock intended for half eagles and punching planchets from this stock with the half eagle punch. Although we have no knowledge of any pieces being tested for purity, it is believed that all four-dollar gold pieces were produced of standard 900 fine gold. Because the planchet stock was reduced in thickness, fine parallel (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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2006
    6th-7th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 17
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,300

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