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Superb Gem Proof 1879 Flowing Hair Stella

1879 $4 Flowing Hair Judd-1635, Pollock-1832, R.3, PR67 Cameo NGC. The Charles Barber design. Reeded Edge. A simply glorious specimen of this ever-popular and curious denomination. The devices are boldly frosted and they contrast sharply with the mirror fields. This particular coin is identifiable by a couple of tiny pits on the neck of Liberty, the reverse has a couple of tiny nicks on the upper left of the star below the last S of PLURIBUS. As to rarity, this particular coin is one of the very finest to survive, with the NGC Census noting a total of seven coins graded as such, with none seen finer. In the PCGS Population Report we note the following in this grade category (PR67) one with the Cameo designation, and one with the Deep Cameo designation. Therefore, a total of nine coins have been graded this high by the two main grading services, with none seen finer by either service of this important and popular issue.
Most, or perhaps all, four dollar gold Stellas show parallel striae which have been described as adjustment marks, with each planchet hand-filed for exact weight. We are not certain that this was actually a hand process, for these marks seem much too even for such a procedure. More likely, the planchet strip was rolled to slightly over desired thickness, then very carefully adjusted to the exact thickness prior to planchets being punched from this strip. This desired thickness would not have been the exact mid-point between three-dollar and half eagle thickness, as some have suggested, due to differing density between standard and metric alloy, and different diameter between those two denominations. Relatively simple mathematical calculations provided Mint workmen the exact thickness necessary. We show below, under technical considerations, simple calculations to arrive at the exact thickness required: 1.1384 millimeters, or almost exactly 0.045 inch. We suggest that fine-tuning the strip to desired thickness left the parallel grooves in the planchets.
We are not certain of the pedigree of this particular coin, but perhaps careful examination of past auctions will discover some of the past great collections where it resided. Pedigree tracing of these Stellas is very difficult as they have very few unique characteristics which show up in older auction catalogs. In many instances a copper spot is used to identify a specimen, then that coin would be cleaned at some point later, and the spot would be gone, making positive identification all but impossible. One thing we can be certain of, any collector will be proud to own and display this magnificent coin, for few issues from our mints have so many stories and adventures as the small issue of Stellas. Certain to be a highlight in any major collection it graces, and a coin which all collectors will covet. An important opportunity to put away one of the finest known examples of this issue.
From The Gold Rush Collection.(#88057)(Registry values: P1) (NGC ID# 28AZ, PCGS# 88057)

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Auction Dates
January, 2005
12th-15th Wednesday-Saturday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 1,740

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