1879 Flowing Hair $4 NGC PR66. Technically
a pattern, $4.00 Gold pieces, or Stella's have traditionally
been listed in the red book and have been collected
as a regular series ever since. Struck in two different
types, this is the flowing hair obverse design, a rendition
by Charles E. Barber.
Struck in various metals, the gold
examples have been the most popular. The 1879 issues
were actually produced and distributed to members of
the Congress, to show what an issue of this unusual
denomination would look like. The idea however, was
soon abandoned, and the 1880 issues with the same design
were secretly produced in very limited quantities by
Mint workers for sale to collectors.
The four dollar denomination was meant
to circulate widely across the world, as various other
issues from European countries did. However, the American
$20 gold piece was very popular in international trade,
and the new denomination would not fit with the other
coins used widely in the trade. The idea was never widely
promoted, and along with various other projects for
international trade the coinage of one international
trade coin was never materialized.
The present piece is one of the finest
known examples of this issue, remaining from an estimated
mintage of 450 pieces. Very pleasing, and highly reflective
surfaces, with the darker gold color seen on both sides
a true highlight. A rare opportunity to acquire one
of the prime coins of American coinage, popular and
highly prized since they were minted.
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