1879 Four-Dollar Gold Stella. Flowing Hair. Judd-1635, Pollock-1833, JD-1. Rarity-3. Gold. Reeded Edge. Proof-65 (PCGS). CAC.

$249,000

Dazzling Gem Proof 1879 Flowing Hair Stella


Just 5 Finer at CAC

This is a supremely attractive Gem Proof with warm golden-orange color. Sharply struck overall with expertly preserved surfaces, few four-dollar gold coins of either date or type possess the superior quality and strong eye appeal embodied in this captivating specimen. Only 5 coins have been graded higher by CAC.

The story of the four-dollar gold Stellas of 1879 and 1880 begins with the desire in certain government circles to create an international coinage system that would be readily recognized and accepted throughout the world. Although it had surfaced earlier, this idea gained its greatest momentum in 1879 through the efforts of John A. Kasson, the United States’ minister plenipotentiary to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and a former chairman of the Congressional Committee on Coinage, Weights and Measures. Kasson urged the federal government to consider creation of a four-dollar gold coin as the basis for a new international monetary system. In Kasson’s opinion, a four-dollar gold coin struck in the United States Mint would more closely approximate in value the more widely used and accepted gold coins of several European countries, including Austria’s 8 florins, the Dutch 8 florins, France’s 20 francs, Italy’s 20 lire and Spain’s 20 pesetas.

Throwing his weight behind Kasson’s proposal, serving chairman of the Committee on Coinage, Weights and Measures, Alexander H. Stephens, wrote to Secretary of the Treasury John Sherman requesting that the Mint prepare pattern four-dollar gold pieces for evaluation by Congress. The Mint eventually prepared two different proposed designs, a flowing hair motif by Charles E. Barber and a coiled hair design by George T. Morgan. The Barber Flowing Hair type was used to prepare only 25 (and possibly as few as 15) examples for distribution to Congressional leaders. Those coins are dated 1879 and, per traditional numismatic wisdom, were struck in a metric alloy of 85.71% gold, 4.29% silver and 10.00% copper.

Demand among Congressional and other government officials for examples of the proposed four-dollar gold Stella proved so great, however, that the Mint eventually prepared perhaps as many as 700 additional specimens in early 1880, still using the 1879-dated Flowing Hair dies. These pieces are struck in standard alloy of 90.00% gold, 10.00% copper on shaved half eagle planchets (per the website us.patterns.com) and, as with their predecessors produced in 1879, were used for presentation and other official purposes as well as for numismatists. Despite its popularity with Congressional leaders and other contemporary politicians, in the end the four-dollar gold Stella failed to gain authorization for regular issue production and the project ended.

As a “type coin,” the 1879 Flowing Hair Stella is a significant numismatic rarity, even more so from a market availability standpoint given the strong demand it generates among advanced collectors. For although technically a pattern (as the four-dollar gold denomination was never authorized for regular issue production), the Stella has long been collected as an integral part of a complete type set of classic United States Mint gold coinage. Its popularity is such that the denomination has been ranked 16th in the fifth (2019) edition of 100 Greatest U.S. Coins by Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth.

All Stellas were struck as Proofs, but because many of the surviving examples were once used as pocket pieces or set into jewelry, they often appear as if they have seen very heavy circulation. Many are damaged with filed rims, scratches, and wear commensurate with long service in necklaces. The present coin is a noteworthy exception. Carefully preserved through the years with not even the barest signs of mishandling, the acquisition of this Gem Proof Stella would be an impressive numismatic achievement for any advanced collector.

PCGS# 8057. NGC ID: 28AZ.

CAC Population: 8; 5 finer.

Out of stock

SKU: A0001087719 Category:

Description

Previous Prices Realized

Image Grade Description Date Realized
Coin Thumbnail 62 1879 Four-Dollar Gold Stella. Flowing Hair. Judd-1635, Pollock-1833, JD-1. Rarity-3. Gold. Reeded Edge. Proof-62 (PCGS). CAC. Apr-22 $138,000.00
Coin Thumbnail 62 1879 Four-Dollar Gold Stella. Flowing Hair. Judd-1635, Pollock-1833, JD-1. Rarity-3. Gold. Reeded Edge. Proof-62 (PCGS). Nov-21 $120,000.00
Coin Thumbnail 62 1879 Four-Dollar Gold Stella. Flowing Hair. Judd-1635, Pollock-1833. Rarity-3. Gold. Reeded Edge. Proof-62 (PCGS). CAC. Secure Holder. Nov-15 $135,125.00
Coin Thumbnail 63 1879 Four-Dollar Gold Stella. Flowing Hair. Judd-1635, Pollock-1833. Rarity-3. Gold. Reeded Edge. Proof-63 (PCGS). Secure Holder. Aug-16 $146,875.00
Coin Thumbnail 64 1879 Four-Dollar Gold Stella. Flowing Hair. Judd-1635, Pollock-1833. Rarity-3. Gold. Reeded Edge. Proof-64 (PCGS). CAC. Aug-19 $168,000.00
Coin Thumbnail 64 1879 Four-Dollar Gold Stella. Flowing Hair. Judd-1635, Pollock-1833. Rarity-3. Gold. Reeded Edge. Proof-64 (PCGS). Secure Holder. Aug-17 $158,625.00
Coin Thumbnail 65 1879 Four-Dollar Gold Stella. Flowing Hair. Judd-1635, Pollock-1833, JD-1. Rarity-3. Gold. Reeded Edge. Proof-65 (PCGS). CAC. Aug-22 $234,000.00
Coin Thumbnail 65 1879 Four-Dollar Gold Stella. Flowing Hair. Judd-1635, Pollock-1833, JD-1. Rarity-3. Gold. Reeded Edge. Proof-65 (PCGS). CAC. Aug-21 $216,000.00
Coin Thumbnail 65 1879 Four-Dollar Gold Stella. Flowing Hair. Judd-1635, Pollock-1833, JD-1. Rarity-3. Gold. Reeded Edge. Proof-65 (NGC). Dec-20 $168,000.00
Coin Thumbnail 65+ 1879 Four-Dollar Gold Stella. Flowing Hair. Judd-1635, Pollock-1833. Rarity-3. Gold. Reeded Edge. Proof-65+ (PCGS). Secure Holder. Nov-15 $188,000.00

** NOTE. All prices realized reflect the final hammer price plus the buyer’s premium. As errors can occur, you should contact each pricing source to determine the accuracy of this information. No item may be returned or refused based on the information provided.

Population Guide

Service Grade Population In This Grade Plus Population In Higher Grade Total
PCGS 65 29 1 32 259
NGC 65 18 0 12 126
CAC 65 8 5 34

**NOTE. Information listed is intended to be as accurate as possible, and is being provided to our customers as a service. As errors can occur, you should contact each grading service to determine the accuracy of this information. No item may be returned or refused based on the information provided.

PCGS Pop Guide

Type 1 2 3 4 6 8 10 12 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 45+ 50 53 53+ 55 55+ 58 58+ 60 61 62 62+ 63 63+ 64 64+ 65 65+ 66 66+ 67 67+ 68 68+ 69 70 Total
Base 3 2 3 3 6 3 6 11 7 20 30 34 70 29 1 25 3 2 1 259
Percent 1 0 1 1 2 1 2 4 2 7 11 13 27 11 0 9 1 0 0 100

**NOTE. Information listed is intended to be as accurate as possible, and is being provided to our customers as a service. As errors can occur, you should contact PCGS to determine the accuracy of this information. No item may be returned or refused based on the information provided.

NGC Pop Guide

Type 1 2 3 4 6 8 10 12 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 45+ 50 53 53+ 55 55+ 58 58+ 60 61 62 62+ 63 63+ 64 64+ 65 65+ 66 66+ 67 67+ 68 68+ 69 70 Total
Base 1 6 6 1 5 13 5 1 22 36 18 8 4 126
Percent 0 4 4 0 3 10 3 0 17 28 14 6 3 100
Star 0
Total 1 6 6 1 5 13 5 1 22 36 18 8 4 126

**NOTE. Information listed is intended to be as accurate as possible, and is being provided to our customers as a service. As errors can occur, you should contact NGC to determine the accuracy of this information. No item may be returned or refused based on the information provided.

CAC Pop Guide

Type 1 2 3 4 6 8 10 12 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 45+ 50 53 53+ 55 55+ 58 58+ 60 61 62 62+ 63 63+ 64 64+ 65 65+ 66 66+ 67 67+ 68 68+ 69 70 Total
Gold 0
Green 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 4 2 6 8 4 1 34

**NOTE. Information listed is intended to be as accurate as possible, and is being provided to our customers as a service. As errors can occur, you should contact CAC to determine the accuracy of this information. No item may be returned or refused based on the information provided.