Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 44

Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction

$4 Gold
Lot Photo Description Realized
Lot 2357
1879 $4 Gold. Flowing hair. NGC graded Proof 67 Cameo. Encased in NGC holder 1888601-002. Well struck and fully golden color. A very popular key type coin. A few faint lines in the fields. Only 425 Proofs struck. A bright reddish gold specimen with some deeper accents on the design devices, most notable in Liberty's hair near the ribbon. Cameo frosted motifs supported by mirror fields account for a pleasing two-tone appearance and the grade it has earned. Justifiably so! Indeed, it is a nicely struck coin for the issue, with only a hint of softness in some of Liberty's hair curls above her ear and brow. Faint mint-caused striations are often seen at the centers, as is always the case on Stellas; we are unaware of any exceptions so let this be your guide. Surfaces are pristine. Devices are pristine. The grade captures the essence of this coin's originality. All in all, we are presented here with a fantastic Gem Proof example of a rare and widely admired issue. From a reconstructed mintage of perhaps 700+ pieces (the Guide Book lists the total as 425), made for delivery to congressmen and later sale to collectors, not to mention as a side-line profit-making enterprise for Mint officials. While the total issued of the 1879 Flowing Hair $4 gold "Stella" is sizeable when compared to the other three Pattern Stella designs (1879 Coiled Hair: perhaps two dozen made -- Mint records suggest 10 pieces; 1880 Flowing Hair: 15 in the Mint records; 1880 Coiled Hair: 10 in the Mint records), collectors cannot seem to get enough of them. Demand for $4 gold coins swells by the year. The present example is tied with six others of the 1879 Flowing Hair in Proof 67 Cameo, with 2 higher (sporting the "star" assignment). At this point, we could take you on a long, historic journey of background data concerning the importance of the $4 coinage, its origins and the hanky-panky associated with their distribution. But we'll leave numismatists to discover the history themselves by means of the Judd pattern book, the Walter Breen encyclopedia, and other specialized editions dealing with gold coins. We'll leave readers with this brief assessment and summary: An exceptional specimen of one of America's most strikingly original (and beautiful) rarities!

Historic note concerning the Judd very scarce. Pollock number schemes: Judd called all 1879 Flowing Hair Stellas struck in gold "J-1635." Later research turned up the fact that the gold Stellas were produced in two different finenesses, to which Pollock assigned different numbers. The first, P-1832, represents pieces struck in 85.71 fine gold, 4.29 fine silver, and 10.0 fine copper. It is believed that these coins were the first 15 struck. Later, after more and more interested parties asked for examples of the new Pattern design, some 400 or more additional pieces were made on .900 fine gold planchets, those being designated P-1833. Students of the series find it difficult to distinguish between them other than by means of specific gravity testing; the weights differs slightly for the two metallic alloys. Pop 7; 2 finer in 67 Star. (PCGS # 8057) .
Estimated Value $275,000 - 325,000.
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