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    Description

    1879 Flowing Hair Stella, PR60
    Judd-1635, Attractive Color
    Reportedly 425 Pieces Made

    1879 $4 Flowing Hair, Judd-1635, Pollock-1833, R.3, PR60 PCGS Secure. "No United States pattern or regular gold piece seems to have acquired anything approaching the interest and popularity of the stella, and that this popularity is not diminishing by the advance of time, is well proved by the steady increase in the premium that is paid for specimens, no matter how often they are put up for sale." These words, which continue to ring true, were written by Edgar H. Adams in the March 1911 issue of The Numismatist.

    The Adams article, "The Stellas of 1879 and 1880," holds the distinction of being the first piece of numismatic literature in which all four stella variants were showcased at once. What is also remarkable is that Adams correctly identified Dr. William Wheeler Hubbell as the originator of the denomination, writing: "The stella, or four dollar piece, was the work of Dr. W.W. Hubbell, the patentee of the goloid metal... ." Later researchers would cite Chairman of the Committee of Coinage, Weights, and Measures John A. Kasson as having first proposed this denomination. Granted, Adams did mention "the stella was made at the solicitation" of Kasson, and that is partly true. He did suggest the United States eliminate the three dollar gold piece and in its place create an international trade coin equivalent to those of the Latin Monetary Union, but that would have meant a coin worth $3.88. Hubbell was undoubtedly the driving force behind the production of these patterns.

    The 1911 article reported that 415 1879 Flowing Hair stellas were struck. Some modern researchers like Bowers and Garrett have estimated the actual figure is closer to 600 or 700 pieces, but once again Adams proved to be ahead of his time. Roger Burdette's extensive findings, published in the Journal of Numismatic Research (Spring 2015), show that 425 1879 Flowing Hair four dollar gold coins were manufactured. The certification totals bear that out, assuming a number of resubmissions and crossovers.

    Ranked 18th among the 100 Greatest U.S. Coins, the stella continues to captivate the imaginations of collectors. Ownership of any example is a point of pride among the most advanced numismatists. This Uncirculated proof displays a characteristic strike across the centers, where faint striations appear (as always), but it is otherwise razor-sharp. Orange-gold surfaces present beautiful copper-red and lavender accents on each side. Hairlines limit the technical grade, but the coin maintains excellent visual appeal.(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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2018
    14th-19th Tuesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
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