1879 Flowing Hair $4 Proof 62 Cameo NGC
Lot 1128
1879 Flowing Hair $4 Proof 62 Cameo NGC
A classic design by George Morgan, founded in a proposal by Representative John Adam Kasson for international coinage. The bright, reflective surfaces exhibit a pronounced cameo effect against the frosted devices. An interesting note: NONE of the typical striations are present on the obverse, with only a couple visible on the reverse star under very close examination. Could this be one of the 15 Originals which supposedly show no striations that were allegedly coined in 1879? It is thought that somewhere between 400 and 800 additional examples were struck in 1880 for distribution to selected politicians and others. One of the most popular of all American coins, enough to make Stellas one of the few Patterns included among regular issue coins in most reference books, The Guidebook to U.S. Coins, a notable example.

The Stellas are "international" not in their conformity to other world gold coins, but in the fact that they state their weight and the relative proportions of gold and silver on their face. Presumably, gold was more appreciated worldwide in 1879 than were U.S. dollars, thus it was easier to determine the value of 6 grams of pure gold than it was to convert $4 based on some market or government-imposed rate. Regardless of intent, the Stella experiment failed and was abandoned. Ultimately, the dollar became an international currency all on its own, not due to experiments such as this, but because of the strength and stability of U.S. markets. (PCGS 8057)
Sold for US$ 146,250 inc. premium
Lot Details
1879 Flowing Hair $4 Proof 62 Cameo NGC
A classic design by George Morgan, founded in a proposal by Representative John Adam Kasson for international coinage. The bright, reflective surfaces exhibit a pronounced cameo effect against the frosted devices. An interesting note: NONE of the typical striations are present on the obverse, with only a couple visible on the reverse star under very close examination. Could this be one of the 15 Originals which supposedly show no striations that were allegedly coined in 1879? It is thought that somewhere between 400 and 800 additional examples were struck in 1880 for distribution to selected politicians and others. One of the most popular of all American coins, enough to make Stellas one of the few Patterns included among regular issue coins in most reference books, The Guidebook to U.S. Coins, a notable example.

The Stellas are "international" not in their conformity to other world gold coins, but in the fact that they state their weight and the relative proportions of gold and silver on their face. Presumably, gold was more appreciated worldwide in 1879 than were U.S. dollars, thus it was easier to determine the value of 6 grams of pure gold than it was to convert $4 based on some market or government-imposed rate. Regardless of intent, the Stella experiment failed and was abandoned. Ultimately, the dollar became an international currency all on its own, not due to experiments such as this, but because of the strength and stability of U.S. markets. (PCGS 8057)
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  1. Paul Song
    Specialist - Coins and Banknotes
    Bonhams
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    United States
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