Attractive 1879 Flowing Hair Stella in Gold1879 $4 Flowing Hair, Judd-1635, Pollock-1832, 1833, R.3, 6, PR63 NGC. The Charles Barber design. Reeded Edge. One of the most popular and endearing patterns ever issued by the Philadelphia Mint. As seen on virtually all known examples of this issue, there are faint striation lines crossing Liberty's cheek and hair. These were the result of the planchet preparation process and were caused by the rollers used to squeeze the gold ingots into long strips for cutting out the planchets. Normally, these roller marks would be eliminated during the striking process, but on these stellas virtually all show some evidence of these faint lines. The exact same scenario is found on S-mint Barber coinage for many years, with similar lines crossing Liberty's face. This is the only generally available stella, from a mintage variously registered from 425 to slightly over 700. Of course, the term--available--is relative, and in comparison to demand for such pieces, coins of this quality are indeed rare. The actual number produced, in 1879 and 1880, is thought to be somewhat greater. These coins are known in two different alloys; the standard alloy is 90% gold and 10% copper, and also in the metric alloy which is 85.71% gold, 4.29% silver, and 10% copper. The specific alloy of this coin is unknown, nor is the alloy generally given in other auction descriptions, as it would require elemental analysis. The point seems to be moot. The obverse has a large date logotype, the digit 1 is slightly high, and the entire logotype is slightly curved. The reverse die has the D in UNITED doubled, the original placement slightly above the final position.
In the known world of certification we can reliably report that this is one of 38 pieces so graded by PCGS with 143 graded higher, according to the January Population Report. This obverse die and the similar Flowing Hair die of 1880 were both designed by Charles Barber, while the much rarer Coiled Hair obverse dies of 1879 and 1880 were designed by George T. Morgan. It is not known who engraved the reverse die, which was used to coin all the 1879 and 1880 stellas.
The regal beauty of this curious denomination has kept demand very high for an attractive example, such as the coin offered here, and many numismatists have long desired to own such a prize. However, the price of ownership seems to continue to outpace all but those who greatly desire and can afford the cost required to secure an example. Here is an opportunity for yet another collector to fulfill the dream of finally obtaining one of America's most popular and unusual denominations ever produced.
Purchased from Abner Kreisberg Corporation on October 19, 1979 for $32,000.
From The Beverly Hills Collection.(#8057) (Registry values: P1) (NGC ID# 28AZ, PCGS# 8057)
Weight: 7.00 grams
Metal: 86% Gold, 4% Silver, 10% Copper
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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