Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 48

Lot 1245

1879 $4 Gold. Flowing hair. PCGS graded Proof 66 Cameo. An awesome golden Stella! The vibrant mirror surfaces radiate against the richly frosted devices. The eye appeal of this outstanding gem is absoslutely stunning. Rich golden sunset colors turn slightly iridescent to a light source with hints of violet and rose. Only 700 or so struck.

One of the most talked about gold rarities in American numismatics is the 1879 Flowing Hair $4 gold Stella, a Pattern coin that because it has been in A Guide Book of United States Coins since the 1940s, has been accepted as a regular series.

The present piece stands head and shoulders above most examples that have been sold in recent years. Among the finest certified by PCGS, as the stats below indicate. There are many factors propelling it to the head of the line. This includes the eye appeal, well above average in the present instance, the detail in the main devices, and the natural hues of toning from long years in a protected environment. The piece has a warm yellow-orange intensity as mentioned. It really electrifies the numismatist "gene" in any true collector who owns one. The $4 Flowing Hair Stella is ideal for a U.S. gold Type set, or simply as a single Great Rarity to include in a specialized portfolio of gold rarities. Again, without mincing words, this is one of the most attractive specimens 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 9; 2 in 67 cameo. This one could rank as the most beautiful of them all (PCGS # 88057) .
Estimated Value $200,000 - 220,000.

Realized $230,000

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