More than $1 million has been paid to purchase an 1879 Coiled Hair type $4 gold piece that has the popular nickname “Stella.”
It was not sold at auction; the transaction was by private treaty.
David Lawrence Rare Coins says it acquired on behalf of a client a Proof-66 Cameo 1879 Coiled Hair gold $4 for just over $1 million.
The coin is graded by the Professional Coin Grading Service.
The firm dubs it one of the newest members of the PCGS Million Dollar Coin Club.
It had previously sold in January 2014 for $851,875 in a public auction.
John Brush, president of David Lawrence, said, “A collector that we’ve had the privilege of working with in recent years contacted us in his search for a Coiled Hair Stella. Thanks to our long-standing relationships with dealers throughout the country, we were able to locate this piece quickly, and we were excited to marry the coin and the collector.”
DLRC relates the following the history of the gold $4:
The $4 Stellas of 1879 and 1880 are considered pattern coins but are treated and collected as regular-issue proof gold pieces.
Originally created by John A. Kasson with help from Dr. William Wheeler Hubbell, the Stellas were to be used for international trade. However, the coins did not gain traction, and the production was halted.
There are two varieties, Coiled Hair and Flowing Hair, with Coiled Hair being the rarer of the two. The 1879 Coiled Hair is the second rarest date, the rarest being 1880, and only 12 examples are known to have been minted.
“In the current marketplace, high end coins are becoming harder to locate,” continued Brush. “As collectors and investors once again are returning to collectibles, we’ve seen record results in many public auctions and in private transactions. So when collectors let us know their current want lists, we work hard to locate special coins such as the Coiled Hair Stella.”
This example of the 1879 Coiled Hair Stella can be traced back several generations, as it was once part of the fabled Garrett Collection, and more recently the Buddy Ebsen Collection.
The firm describes the coin as a premium gem with well-struck devices; the lightest softness is noticed on some hair strands due to the typical planchet striations. Having frosty surfaces with wonderful cameo contrasts and deeply-mirrored fields, the eye appeal of this piece is nearly unmatched.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today
More Collecting Resources
• The 1800s were a time of change for many, including in coin production. See how coin designs grew during the time period in the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900 .
• Keep up to date on prices for Canada, United States and Mexico coinage with the 2018 North American Coins & Prices guide.