- USA Coin Book
- Gold $4
- 1879-P : Flowing Hair
1879 Stella Gold $4 : Flowing Hair
Four Dollar Piece - Early Gold Coins
Metal Composition: 85% Gold - 15% Silver and Copper
Diameter: 22 mm
Mass / Weight: 7 grams
What this coin looks like (obverse, reverse, mint mark location, special features, etc.):
There were two major varieties of the 1879 Stella $4 Gold Coin. The more common variety featured flowing hair in the liberty portrait on the obverse of the coin (as depicted above) - while the other rarer variety had coiled hair.
These $4 Four Dollar gold coins are extremely rare and uncommon as they were produced only in 1879 and 1880. The official name of the coin was "Stella" - to describe the four dollar denomination. It was intended by the US Mint that this coin would be universally exchangeable with any other currency in the world. It was originally designed as a pattern and as a way to explore the potential of joining the Latin Monetary Union during this time period. Congress eventually scrapped the idea of joining the international group and the few hundred coins that were produce were sold to congressmen.
The reverse of the coin features a 5-pointed star with the words "ONE STELLA" and "400 CENTS". Around the star features our motto "E PLURIBUS UNUM" and below "DEO EST GLORIA" - which is Latin for "To God is the glory". At the bottom of the reverse is "FOUR DOL.". The obverse features the liberty head portrait. Around the edge is a series of letters and numbers with stars between them: "★6★G★.3★S★.7★C★7★G★R★A★M★S★" - which means 6G (6.0 grams of gold) - .3S (0.3 grams of silver) - .7C (0.7 grams of copper) - GRAMS as the units of the metal composition in the coin.
The difference between the 1879 Flowing Hair vs Coiled Hair Stella $4 gold coin is depicted below in the example comparison image (Source of example images is courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries):
MELT VALUE: $242.12
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