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2019 Gold Commemorative Proof of the 1879 Coiled Hair Stella
The Grove Minting Company commemorates the 140th anniversary of 1879 to one of the rarest 19th century United States pattern coins, the Coiled Hair Stella. This solid .999 fine gold commemorative showcases an exacting obverse portrait with modified peripheral lettering 10g Gold 24k, and reverse star featuring the Grove Minting Lion & Anchor.
Celebrating the 140th anniversary of the 1879 Coiled Hair Stella.
One of the rarest 19th century pattern coins in American Numismatics commanded a staggering $881,250 across the auction block in 2015. Five years later, one could only imagine what additional premiums in price this coin type would carry, should it resurface to the public.
Enter the 1879 Stella, an obscure $4 gold denomination which sat between the more common gold Quarter Eagles ($2.50) and gold Half Eagles ($5.00) of the era. For reference, a short lived Three Dollar gold piece also existed in circulation during the time from 1854-1889, although it was widely unpopular, as compared to denominations that could easily and evenly "make change". With that in mind, how did congress consider authorizing a $4 dollar coin?
The Stella was struck in the years 1879 and 1880. This "Star" coin was envisioned as a competitor to the various foreign coins in the international markets, at a time when the U.S. Silver Trade Dollar was gaining in popularity. However, similar to the Three Dollar gold piece, this proposal for an additional coin of unique weight and size did not provide for any convenience of exchange, especially against European counterparts. Most trades and exchanges were pegged to the well known U.S. Double Eagle ($20), or U.S. silver dollars.
Nonetheless, this did not stop the mint from experimenting with new pattern types, and an estimated total of 425 "Flowing Hair" Stella's were struck in 1879, with only 12 known "Coiled Hair" Stella's also being produced in that same year for examination by government officials. The year 1880 yielded fewer examples, with 17 known "Flowing Hair" and 8 known "Coiled Hair" specimens supposedly struck in secret for sale to dignitaries.
Ultimately, the adoption of the $4 gold Stella, a progressive design created by both Charles E. Barber and George T. Morgan, never saw the fruits of worldwide trade and circulation. Rather, these gold proofs became attributed similar to most museum rarities, within the Smithsonian Institute, and across private collections.
In 2019 the Grove Minting Company commemorated the 140th anniversary of 1879 to this rare United States pattern coin, the Coiled Hair Stella. This commemorative is proof-struck in solid .999 fine gold at 22.5mm, with a reeded edge. It showcases an exacting obverse portrait with modified peripheral lettering of "10g Gold 24k", and reverse star with lettering "E. Pluribus Unum - Deo Est Gloria", prominently featuring the Grove Minting Lion & Anchor with roman numerals MMXIX.
The production of the 2019 Commemorative Proof of the 1879 Coiled Hair Stella was limited to pattern strikes on custom rolled gold planchets that varied in weight from 10.2 grams to 10.7 grams.
- 22.5mm wide
- 10.2g +
- .999 Fine Gold
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