Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice
Florida United Numismatists (FUN) and New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC) Auctions are rescheduled and have moved to Dallas. Get details.


    Important Choice Proof 1879 Flowing Hair Stella Four Dollar Gold Piece

    1879 $4 Flowing Hair, Judd-1635, Pollock-1832, 1833, R.3, 6, PR64 PCGS. The Charles Barber design. Reeded edge. An exceptional example in brilliant yellow gold with clear design details and reflective fields. Only a few very minor hairlines and other tiny surface imperfections. Minor blemishes are noted just behind Liberty's head below the 7 and star to the right. Very light planchet striations slant down to the left at about a 45 degree angle, and down the right on the reverse at a similar angle. Similar striations are seen on almost all known examples, however, in different orientation from coin to coin. Such striations are thought to be a result of the planchet preparation process. This is the only generally available Stella, from a mintage variously registered as from about 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, while the metric alloy 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. Obverse with large date logotype, the digit 1 slightly high, and the entire logotype slightly curved. Reverse die with D in UNITED doubled, the original placement slightly above the final position.
    In terms of rarity, the PCGS Population Report noted a total of 81 examples graded this high, with another 62 pieces seen in higher grades. Stellas have always been one of the most popular Patterns ever issued by the Philadelphia Mint and since they time they were first coined, orders continued to come in during their limited production. Finding an attractive specimen can be quite a challenge, and this auction will certainly have an example for everyone, with many Choice to Superb Gem coins to choose from. This particular specimen is housed in an older green insert PCGS holder and will certainly find considerable attention for its charms.
    Four-dollar gold coins were struck in gold, and in various other metals including copper, aluminum, and white metal, the latter more commonly known as tin. Many of the off-metal patterns were gilt, or gold-plated, to resemble the actual gold patterns. Known examples bear the dates 1879 or 1880. Two designs for the obverse exist, the Flowing Hair design of Charles E. Barber, and the Coiled Hair design by George T. Morgan. The single reverse design is identical on all known examples, and in fact, is from a single die showing the same die polish lines on each of the different varieties. It is not known which of these engravers designed the reverse. The earliest illustration of all four designs, to the best of our knowledge, appeared in the March 1911 issue of The Numismatist, in an article by Edgar H. Adams. A second die variety of 1879 Stella, only known in copper, was mentioned by Andrew Pollock III in his reference United States Patterns and Related Issues. It is interesting to note that this variety was also described by Edgar H. Adams in his 1911 article, and listed in his 1913 reference. This second die variety has the point of Liberty's coronet located just below the 7 in the inscription, as compared to the point of the coronet being located below a star on the other obverse die.
    From The Gold Rush Collection.(#8057) (Registry values: P1)

    Coin Index Numbers: (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.

    View all of [The Gold Rush Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2005
    12th-15th Wednesday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 871

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    15% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 6 days left to consign to the 2021 March 17 - 21 The Donald G. Partrick Collection of New Jersey Coppers and other Selected Colonial Coins Signature Auction !

    Learn about consigning with us

    Had we endeavored to sell it without your support, it would have taken us at least 10 lifetimes, i.e. it would have been impossible.
    Melinda L.,
    Greenville, SC
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search