$250,000+ for 1880 Coiled Hair gold $4 Stella pattern: Market Analysis

Polished gold $4 coin realized $258,500 in Rarities Night auction
By , Coin World
Published : 10/24/15
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On Oct. 1, Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Sotheby’s held a Rarities Auction consisting of 135 lots of coins and other numismatic items that totaled $2,993,230. Gold coins led the sale, but another highlight was a classic bronze United States Diplomatic Medal by Augustin Dupré from the Cardinal Educational Foundation Collection that realized $188,000. After the sale Stack’s Bowers president Brian Kendrella said, “The Pogue Collection sale the prior evening brought in some new faces, who also participated in the Rarities Auction, and we were thrilled to welcome them.” 

The Coin 
1880 Coiled Hair gold $4 Stella Pattern, Proof, Uncirculated Details, Polished

The Price
$258,500

The Story 
Considering that the top examples of this issue exceed the $2 million mark when offered at auction, someone may have gotten a bargain when purchasing an 1880 Coiled Hair gold $4 Stella pattern coin. The piece, graded by PCGS as Proof, Uncirculated Details (meaning that it has no wear), Polished, sold for $258,500.

The 1880 Coiled Hair type is one of four collectible gold Stella pattern types with Flowing Hair and Coiled Hair designs struck in 1879 and 1880.  

Despite the polishing, which is considered a fairly severe impairment, the description notes that, while the surfaces are a bit bright, they have an even yellow gold patina on both sides and the hairlines are “not readily evident at all viewing angles.” 

With the finest known example selling for $2,574,000 at Bonhams’ Sept. 23, 2013, auction of the Tacasyl Collection, the one offered on Oct. 1 brought around 10 percent of that price, providing an entry point for a great numismatic rarity.

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