1880 Coiled Hair $4 Stella stellar in Heritage Auctions' Long Beach sale

Gold pattern issue realizes $1.12 million
By , Coin World
Published : 06/12/15
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Heritage’s June 4 to 7 auctions held in conjunction with the Long Beach Coin, Currency, Stamp & Sports Collectible Expo exceeded expectations and brought more than $17 million.

Leading bidding was the sale of an 1880 Coiled Hair Stella $4 pattern piece, listed as Judd 1660 and Pollock 1860 in the standard references to the pattern coin series, for $1,116,250. The piece was graded Proof 65 by Professional Coin Grading Service with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker. 

Of the four main types of the gold 1879 and 1880 Stella pattern coins — which get their nickname from the five-pointed star on the reverse — the 1880 Coiled Hair issue is the rarest. 

Heritage’s roster of nine examples of the Judd 1660 pattern places the Long Beach example as the third finest known, bested by the top example, graded Proof 67 Cameo by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., that realized $2,574,000 as part of Bonhams’ 2013 offering of the Tacasyl Collection. The second finest known example was offered by Heritage earlier this year during the Central States Numismatic Society convention auction in April, where that NGC Proof 67 example sold for $1,821,250. 

The present example was once part of the famous Ed Trompeter Collection, and when offered at Superior’s 1992 auction of his collection, it sold for $264,000. Three years later it sold by Stack’s in 1995 for $308,000. 

An 1880 Flowing Hair Stella pattern, Judd 1657 and Pollock 1857, graded Proof 65 by NGC, and with a CAC sticker, sold for $417,125 and was the third most expensive lot in the auction. It is one of 19 pieces traced of the issue and is the fourth finest known in Heritage’s list of examples.

Coming between the two Stellas in terms of price was a handsome 1933 Indian Head gold $10 eagle graded PCGS MS-65 that sold for $587,500. It is one of just 30 to 40 examples believed known from an original mintage of 312,500 and had last appeared at public auction nearly two decades ago. 

The coin in the auction is among the finest certified by PCGS, who records eight submissions at the MS-65 level, two at MS-65+ and none finer. Its first recorded sale was as part of Kosoff and Kreisberg’s January 1946 auction of “The World’s Greatest Collection” (assembled by F.C.C. Boyd) where it realized $375. Heritage notes, “Is it fitting that one of the greatest 1933 Indian eagles known first appeared in what was heralded at the time as the ‘world’s greatest collection?’ If nothing else, it speaks to the outstanding quality of this piece.”

Washington quarters

Strong prices were not reserved for just gold coins — multiple 20th century coins in high grades performed well. 

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