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    Description

    1879 Flowing Hair Stella, PR64 Deep Cameo
    Iconic Design, Rare With Such Contrast
    Judd-1635, Pollock-1833

    1879 $4 Flowing Hair, Judd-1635, Pollock-1833, R.3, PR64 Deep Cameo PCGS. The four dollar gold coin known as the stella was very much a product of its time. This curious and sought-after denomination, strange as it seems today, begins to develop merit when one considers the context in which it was created.

    For much of the second half of the 19th century, economies worldwide depended heavily on the relationship between and the relative values of gold and silver. The issue dominated not just the political realm. Its effects were felt profoundly in the lives of everyday people. The availability of gold and silver coinage would ebb and flow, resulting in periods of overabundance or total absence of different kinds of coins.

    The mid-1870s saw a vast influx of silver on the world market -- a consequence of increasing mine yields and Germany selling off its silver reserves. In the United States, the Morgan dollar was eventually created to help stabilize the price of silver and provide a market for Western silver interests, but before that happened, minor silver coins were being struck en masse and were returning from abroad in large quantities, flooding the channels of American commerce.

    William Wheeler Hubbell, a polymath with an interest in science and background in law, had his own ideas about solving America's bimetallism problem. By combining a mixture of gold, silver, and copper in specific parts and using that composition, which he dubbed goloid, to produce coins, Hubbell believed he could alleviate the ills caused by the fluctuating prices of gold and silver, create a coinage that was more difficult to counterfeit, and facilitate trade between the United States and members of the Latin Monetary Union.

    As altruistic and ingenious as Hubbell's idea seemed on the surface, it was deeply flawed. More than anything else, Hubbell was driven by the profit motive. He held a patent on the alloy and stood to gain handsomely from its use. In reality, his plan made no sense from either a scientific or economic standpoint for a variety of reasons. That, however, had no bearing on the interest it generated among congressmen and Mint personnel, neither of whom truly understood the complexities with which they were dealing. Mint Director Henry R. Linderman, an active coin collector, pounced at the idea creating of a four dollar coin and immediately instructed that patterns be designed and struck for Hubbell's metric coinage system. The accepted production total for the 1879 Flowing Hair stella is 425 pieces.

    This PR64 Deep Cameo representative enjoys rich orange-gold color and reddish accents. Each side is dramatically contrasted and minimally marked. As usual, faint roller marks occur over the centers, where strike details is trivially soft, but the iconic design is fully rendered elsewhere. The population of 1879 Flowing Hair stellas with Deep Cameo contrast is paltry. This piece is fully deserving of a premium bid.
    From The Washington Spring Collection. (Registry values: P1)

    Coin Index Numbers: (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.

    View all of [The Washington Spring Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2018
    14th-19th Tuesday-Sunday
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