Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 60

Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction

$4 Gold
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Lot 2840
1879 $4 Gold. PCGS graded Proof 65 Deep Cameo. In a new secure plus holder. An exciting Gem Proof ablaze with mirror surfaces against delicately frosted devices thus the "DCAM" designation by PCGS. Approximately 425 or so struck. Talk about a tidy, fully qualified Gem Cameo Proof! The present piece stands head and shoulders above most examples in its grade that have sold in recent years. Among the finest Proof 65s graded by PCGS, as the observations described below will tell. There are many factors propelling it to the head of the line. This includes the exemplary eye appeal, well above average in the present instance, the detail in the main devices, and the natural vibrancy from long years in an hygenic environment free from contaminants. The piece displays a bright yellow-gold intensity. It really electrifies the numismatist "genre" in any Type of this denomination. The $4 Flowing Hair Stella is ideal for a U.S. gold Type set, or simply as a single, stand-alone Great Rarity to include in a portfolio of gold and related coins. Again, without mincing words, this is one of the most attractive Proof 65s we have been privileged to auction, considering the fairly large number of gold rarities that have passed through our sales.

The $4 Stella was promoted by John A. Kasson, United States minister to Austria in 1879. Kasson chaired the Committee of Coinage, Weights, and Measures earlier in his career and was an advocate of a metric coinage that could be used universally throughout Europe and the Americas. Kasson's proposal was forwarded to the U.S. Mint bureau with the $4 Stellas the result. The Philadelphia Mint's two engravers, Charles E. Barber and George T. Morgan, were responsible for designs of the $4 gold piece. Barber made this prototype of Liberty with loosely flowing hair, known quite naturally today as the Flowing Hair type. Morgan's Liberty has her hair in a coil and coiffed, the Coiled Hair type. Patterns in gold (and other metals) were struck in 1879 and again in 1880, but none were ever made for circulation.

Ever since the time of issue, these beautiful and fascinating $4 Stellas have created hours of lively discussion in numismatic circles for the better part of a century and a quarter! Pop 11; 3 finer (PCGS # 98057) .
Estimated Value $180,000 - 190,000.
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Lot 2841
1879. Flowing hair "Stella". ANACS graded Details of AU-58 Cleaned. J-1635 Restrike. Rarity 2. A pleasing example of this popular American rarity. The four dollar gold piece, or Stella, is one of the most prestigious and sought-after United States gold coins. The derivation of the term Stella is one that, while often repeated in numismatic circles, is not completely understood by many. Rather than use a weight-standard for the monetary measure, such as ounce, grain, or gram, when gold coins were first struck in the U.S. Mint in 1795, they were based on a unit of value called the 'eagle.' The eagle was equal in value to ten dollars and it also had a factual design of an eagle on one side. The "dollar" itself was based on a specific weight in metal, either silver or gold. If the eagle is worth ten dollars, it would follow that a half eagle would be worth half that amount, a quarter eagle two and a half dollars, and so on.

The four dollar gold piece, when it came along in 1879-80 (the new denomination was proposed by John Kasson as an international metric coin), was also a new base unit for gold coins, so they called it a Stella. Similar to the eagle on other gold coins denominated on the ten dollar gold standard, the statutory "Stella" has a star on the reverse, since 'Stella' means star in Latin. Charles Barber engraved the dies for the Flowing Hair Stella in 1879, although he modified a design earlier done by his father, William Barber, from the previous year (the father died in August of 1879).

Around the obverse is an abbreviation of the weight and content of the metal contained therein: 6 G[old] 3 S[ilver] .7 C[opper] 7 GRAMS all punctuated by five-pointed stars (naturally). Liberty's hair is confined at the top by a simple ribbon with a pearl or button at the forehead, inscribed LIBERTY. For the first time on the United States Pattern coin, a new motto was introduced on the Stella, and it appears around the star: DEO EST GLORIA. On the star itself, the denomination ONE / STELLA / 400 / CENTS while below, for the third time, FOUR DOL.
Estimated Value $50,000 - 55,000.
The Estate of Winthrop A. Haviland, Jr.

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