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Four Dollar Gold Coins - Gold Stella


Four Dollar Gold Coins: Gold Stella (1879 - 1880)

These pattern coins (pattern gold coins) were first suggested by John A. Kasson, then U.S. envoy ex ordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Austria-Hungary. It was through the efforts W.W. Hubbell, who patented the alloy goloid (used in making another pattern piece, goloid metric dollar), that we have these beautiful and interesting gold coins.

The four-dollar Stella-so called because of the five-pointed star on the reverse was envisioned by Kasson as America's answer to various foreign gold coins popi in the international market. The British sovereign, Italy's 20 lire, and the 20 pesetas Spain were three such coins: each smaller than a U.S. five-dollar gold coins, they were used widely in international trade.

The Stella was one of many proposals made to Congress for an international tra coin, and one of only several that made it to pattern-coin form (others include t 1868 five-dollar piece (five dollar gold coins) and 1874 Bickford ten-dollar piece).

Odds were stacked against the Stella from the start. The denomination of fc U.S. dollars didn't match any of the coin's European counterparts, and at any rate t U.S. double eagle (twenty-dollar coin)-already used in international commerce was a more convenient medium of exchange. The Stella was never minted in quan ties for circulation. Those dated 1879 were struck for congressmen to examine. The 1880 gold coins were secretly made by Mint officials for sale to private collectors.

There are two distinct types in both years of issue. Charles E. Barber designed the Flowing Hair type, and George T. Morgan the Coiled Hair. They were struck as pattern in gold, aluminum, copper, and white metal. (Only those struck in gold are listed here.) It is likely that of the 1879-dated Flowing Hair Stellas, about 15 were struck in 1879, and the rest in 1880.

Precise mintage numbers are unknown. The estimates given below are based on surviving pieces, certified population reports, and auction records.

Some of the finest Stella Gold Coins specimens are housed in the National Numismat Collection in the Smithsonian Institution. Others are in private collections, and the auction block from time to time.



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Four Dollar Gold Coins - Gold Stella - Gold Coins

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