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    Description

    1879 Flowing Hair Stella, Judd-1635, PR50
    Seldom-Seen Circulated Example

    1879 $4 Flowing Hair, Judd-1635, Pollock-1833, R.3, PR50 PCGS. In March 1911, The Numismatist published an article by Edgar H. Adams on the stella coins of 1879 and 1880. It represented the first time images of all four stella variants were presented at once in that publication. The article is interesting to review 105 years later with a better understanding of the series, though some might say marginally so.

    One of the first points Adams address is the production of a small quantity of "original" 1879 stellas, though he does not specifically refer to them as such: "In 1879 it is on record that 15 sets of the metric set, including the Barber stella, were struck." We now suspect that 25 sets, rather than 15, were ordered thanks to letters written by Treasury Secretary John Sherman and recently published in the Journal of Numismatic Research by Roger Burdette.

    Adams also presents the circumstances of the stella's creation and production. He writes:

    "The stella, or four dollar gold piece, was the work of Dr. W.W. Hubbell, the patentee of the goloid metal, and was originally intended to serve as an international coin, to be of approximate value to the Austrian eight florin piece. The latter coin had an approximate value of $3.88. The stella was made at the solicitation of the United States Minister to Austria at that period."


    The assertion is mostly accurate. The stella was the work of Hubbell, intended to approximate the Austria eight florin coin and other European denominations. However, it is misleading to claim that the stella was made at the solicitation of Minister John A. Kasson. Kasson suggested a coin be struck of equal value to its European counterparts. A denomination of approximate value missed Kasson's intention entirely -- one of the many flaws that ultimately to the stella's downfall.

    This example was carried for years as a pocket piece, as it is unlikely to have circulated because of the odd denomination and the general public's unfamiliarity with these coins. Even wear is seen over the devices. The golden-rose color deepens significantly around the margins and there are numerous small contact marks seen in the fields on each side.
    From The Walter Freeman Collection, Part I.(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 Walter Freeman Collection, Part I ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2016
    3rd-5th Monday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 27
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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