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    Description

    1879 Flowing Hair Stella, PR55
    Popular Judd-1635 Gold Pattern

    1879 $4 Flowing Hair, Judd-1635, Pollock-1833, R.3, PR55 PCGS. Although a contemporary failure in its concept, the four dollar gold piece, or stella, has proven to be a hit with generations of gold collectors, being incorporated into the standard issues of U.S. gold coins decades ago. The 1879 Flowing Hair stella is a curious piece that was proposed by John Kasson as an international coin whose value would be roughly equivalent to that of an Austrian eight florins and various other European equivalents.

    The Flowing Hair stellas were originally engraved by Charles Barber in 1879 after a design his father, William, had executed in the previous year. About 415 pieces were struck as patterns (Judd-1635) and another 400 or so backdated restrikes were produced in 1880. These were widely distributed around Washington circles to popularize the proposed new denomination, but were soon forgotten when Congress rejected the international gold coin. The stellas were often sold in three-piece sets with an example of the Goloid and Metric dollars. The price to Congressmen was $6.10, but they were later offered to the public at $15. Sets began appearing at auction as early as June 30,1880, in S.K. Harzfeld's sale of that date.

    The specimen offered here appears to have been carried as a pocket piece for a year or two (one has to wonder if perhaps by a Cabinet member or influential Senator), but displays pleasing reddish and steel-blue highlights over partially glassy surfaces. With the recent upsurge in prices for higher-grade specimens (two PR64 examples sold a year apart in 2011 and 2012 realized $184,000) so-called mishandled pieces such as this take on an even greater importance for the budget-minded collector.
    Ex: FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2007), lot 3484, where it brought $69,000.
    From The Collection of Edwin J. Mantooth Bowers.(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 Collection of Edwin J. Mantooth Bowers ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    22nd-26th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,359

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