Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    1879 Flowing Hair Stella, PR64 Deep Cameo
    America's Most Popular and Collectible Gold Pattern

    1879 $4 Flowing Hair, Judd-1635, Pollock-1833, JD-1, R.3, PR64 Deep Cameo PCGS. CAC. The four dollar stella was a pattern for a proposed international coinage, an idea that was popular in the second half of the 19th century, but would only be realized in recent times, with the advent of the euro. Although the stella is technically a pattern, several hundred examples of the 1879 Flowing Hair design were struck, and the stella has been collected by mainstream gold collectors since the time of issue.

    The stella was championed by Alexander Stephens, then-Chairman of the House Committee on Coinage, Weights and Measures, who was a close associate of Dr. William Wheeler Hubbell, the holder of the patent for the goloid alloy. Hubbell was aggressively marketing his alloy of gold, silver, and copper as a suitable metal for U.S. coinage at the time. Hubbell and Stevens capitalized on a letter from Ambassador John A. Kasson, who suggested the authorization of a U.S. gold coin of the exact value of the French 20 franc piece for use in international exchange, to introduce the idea for the stella to Congress. Two designs were produced in 1879, the familiar Flowing Hair design by Chief Engraver Charles Barber and the Coiled Hair design, which was clearly influenced by George T. Morgan's design for the Goloid Metric dollar, Judd-1631, but was probably adapted by Barber, as well (see Roger Burdette's article in the spring 2015 issue of the Journal of Numismatic Research for details). Both designs were struck again in 1880. Unfortunately, while the proposed value of the stella closely matched that of several European gold coins in use at the time, including the Austrian 8 florins, Spanish 20 pesetas, Italian 20 lire, French 20 francs, and others, it was not an exact match for any and would be useless in simplifying exchanges. Accordingly, Congress never authorized the issue.

    The present coin is an attractive Choice proof, with sharply detailed, frosty design elements that create intense cameo contrast with the deeply reflective fields. Both sides show the enigmatic parallel planchet striations seen on all examples of this issue. In his United States Proof Coins, Volume IV, John Dannreuther theorizes that the stellas were struck from planchets punched out of gold alloy strips that were originally intended for half eagle production. The strips were pulled through a draw bench to reduce them to the proper thickness for the four dollar denomination, acquiring the striations in the process. Of course, this means the coins were not produced from Hubbell's goloid alloy at all, and none of the coins that have been tested show the goloid composition. The well-preserved greenish-gold surfaces of this piece show highlights of yellow and lilac, with outstanding eye appeal. Population: 12 in 64 (1 in 64+) Deep Cameo, 18 finer. CAC: 8 in 64, 8 finer (12/18).(Registry values: P1) (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.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    Calculate Standard Domestic Shipping

    Sales Tax information  | PCGS Guarantee of Grade and Authenticity

    Important information concerning Sales Tax and Resale Certificates. Learn More

    Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    Jan-Feb, 2019
    31st-3rd Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 32
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,921

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

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

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    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
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 17 days left to consign to the 2019 April 24 - 29 Central States US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago!

    Learn about consigning with us

    We will be using HA in the future for some of our numismatic sales, thanks for all the help and guidance!
    Marshall T. ,
    Los Angeles, CA
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 January 31 - February 3 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach
    2019 January 31 - February 3 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach
    REALIZED $10,950,462
    2019 January 15 - 16 World Coins Signature Internet Auction - Dallas
    2019 January 15 - 16 World Coins Signature Internet Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $2,728,900
    2019 January 10 - 14 FUN World Currency Signature Auction - Orlando
    2019 January 10 - 14 FUN World Currency Signature Auction - Orlando
    REALIZED $2,431,467