Coin Specifications

Category: Four Dollar Stella (1879-1880)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 15
Obverse Designer: Charles E. Barber
Reverse Designer: Charles E. Barber
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.8600
Weight: 7.0000g
AGW: 0.1935oz
Melt Value: $350.71 (11/27/2020)
Diameter: 22mm
Edge: Reeded
Link to this coin

1880 FLOWING HAIR $4 PF obverse 1880 FLOWING HAIR $4 PF reverse
Expand All    Collapse All

Description & Analysis

Following a suggestion from Honorable John A. Kasson, minister to Austria from America, a gentleman who traveled widely, the $4 piece was conceived as being interchangeable at par (more or less) with similarly sized gold coins issued by various European nations. To promote international acceptance and ready determination of its metallic content, the obverse inscription was stated in the metric system, and noted that the $4 contained 6 parts gold, .3 parts silver, and .7 parts copper, yielding 7 grams of alloy, 90% gold as stated.

The reverse stated the denomination as 'ONE STELLA 400 CENTS,' within a 5-pointed star. The long used motto E PLURIBUS UNUM appeared above, and the experimental motto DEO EST GLORIA below. Surrounding is the inscription: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA/FOUR DOL. Interestingly, the particular reverse design states the denomination three different ways possibly a good item to insert in a numismatic trivia contest. The value is given as 'ONE STELLA,' also as '400 CENTS,' also as 'FOUR DOL.' Hopefully, there was nothing else left to the imagination!

The idea of a freely interchangeable international coin had several fatal flaws, and, in essence, the concept was dead at the starting gate. First, the $4 Stella was never interchangeable on a one-to-one basis with other specific coins, as there would be some small amount of adjustment to be made to reflect different values. Secondly, even if the $4 were interchangeable at a given time, exchange rates varied then, as now, and the parity would soon be lost.

It is probably the case that the 1879 $4 pieces were struck simply to answer the call for creating such a denomination for inspection, without any serious Treasury Department thought of using it. Additional pieces were struck of the Flowing Hair design in 1880, and of the Coiled Hair design (by Charles E. Barber) in 1879 and 1880, in small quantities, and not disclosed to the numismatic community. Information concerning these other issues was not generally available until early in the 20th century when their existence was publicized by Edgar H. Adams.

Although the 1879 $4 was made as a pattern and, of course, still is, the uniqueness of the denomination made it popular with numismatists, and in short order the 1879 Stella was incorporated into many collections, eventually into catalogs and price lists. Likewise, the 1880 issues are also included by many collectors. Today, Stellas are primarily collected by numismatists in general, rather than pattern specialists.

Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.


GRADE SUMMARY

Loading... Working...

Use the scroll bar at the bottom of this box to view a summary of the NGC Price Guide, NGC Census, Auction Prices Realized and NGC Registry Scores for each grade.

There was no data found for this Coin.

Select Designation

 
NGC PRICE GUIDE
NGC CENSUS
AUCTION PRICES REALIZED
NGC REGISTRY
SCORE
FIND IT ON EBAY

Select Grade

Price Guide

Last Updated: 1/31/2018

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

1880 FLOWING HAIR $4 PF
  GVGFVFXF5053555860626364656667
Base $ - - - - - - - - - 175000 200000 275000 375000 525000 675000 900000
$ - - - - - - - 300000 - - - -
1880 FLOWING HAIR $4 PF CA
  GVGFVFXF50535558616364656667
Base $ - - - - - - - - - 210000 300000 450000 625000 775000 1000000
1880 FLOWING HAIR $4 PF UC
  GVGFVFXF5053555864
Base $ - - - - - - - - - 650000

NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The prices listed in the various NGC Price and Value Guides are compiled from a number of independent, third party sources in the numismatic community which NGC believes to be reliable. Prices provided are averages, not specific prices for individual coins. Further, because these prices are only updated from time to time, they do not reflect short term pricing trends, which are quite common and are often quite dramatic, given the volatile nature of the collectible coin marketplace. This is especially true for rare coins, where there are fewer sales and greater variations in sale prices. For all of these reasons, the prices in these guides are designed to serve merely as one of many measures and factors that coin buyers and sellers can use in determining coin values. These prices are not intended, and should not be relied upon, to replace the due diligence and — when appropriate — expert consultation that coin buyers and sellers should undertake when entering into a coin transaction. As such, NGC disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in the NGC Guides. By using the NGC Guides, the user agrees that neither NGC nor any of its affiliates, shareholders, officers, employees or agents shall have any liability for any loss or damage of any kind, including without limitation any loss arising from reliance on the information contained in the Guides.

Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 16
Low Grade: 61
Average Grade: 64
High Grade: 67

The chart showing 61 series, 62 series, 63 series, 64 series, 65 series, 66 series, 67 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 11/24/2020 1880 FLOWING HAIR $4 PF
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base--------------2131----7
------------------1---1
--------------1-------1
-----------------------
Total--------------31311---9
 --------------33%11%33%11%11%--- 
1880 FLOWING HAIR $4 PF CA
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base------------1-11-42---9
-----------------1----1
-----------------1----1
-----------------------
Total------------1-11-62---11
 ------------9%-9%9%-55%18%--- 

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1880 FLOWING HAIR $4 PF CA
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base11216114141161411817120231294813163135271363613743138481401215252172961886620153212532221712571131631415217577
11282114801168111885123311301913284135631367113778139021442515933178191929520519215742221712768134921529318456
000000132841356313671137781390214425159331781919295205192157422217127681349200
000000134051359913707138131395714838166141834219724208862189522217129651382200
1880 FLOWING HAIR $4 PF UC
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base11714119181212512335125471350213723140981421114321144291459915326155091651019272206022158223549244902604931365
11782119871219512405128651357513848141351424714357144851484115387158421743019715209282223723862250092782132933
000000138481413514247143571448514841153871584217430197152092822237238622500900
000000139731417314284143931454215083154481617618351201582125522893241762552900
1880 FLOWING HAIR $4 PF
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base10855110481124411442116431254712757131121321913323134261358614277144501540018026192932022722102230002449029574
10919111131131011509119441261712875131471325313357134791381614334147661627518448196042085222401234962618431053
000000128751314713253133571347913816143341476616275184481960420852224012349600
000000129931318313288133911353214046143921508317150188701991521477227002399300
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: PF 66
Points: 20227
Owner: Good Trimes
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

Related Articles

FUN Signature Sale Powers To $45 Million

1/24/2013 — Three Cent Silvers Make Big Noise - Rush To Quality Makes for Fierce Competition.
View full article >
Phenomenal Simpson Collection Helps Launch NGC Plus Designation

6/17/2010 — Many of the coins from this superb collection have received NGC's new Plus Designation.
View full article >
Seeing Stars: Part Two

5/1/2005 — I received a number of favorable comments about my column regarding the use of stars on United States coins. These included the suggestion that there was much more yet to be covered, so this month's installment will feature a further look at this "brilliant" subject.
View full article >
Seeing Stars

3/1/2005 — Among the most common design elements on United States coins are stars. Many of the older USA coin types featured 13 stars, representative of the original states that declared their independence from Britain in 1776.
View full article >


NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The auction prices realized listed in the NGC Auction Central are compiled from a number of independent, third party sources in the numismatic community which NGC believes to be reliable. The auction data listed by NGC may occasionally contain typographical or input errors that can result in incorrect prices realized appearing on the NGC website. Therefore, the prices realized listed in NGC Auction Central are designed to serve merely as one of many measures and facts that coin buyers and sellers can use in determining coin values. These prices are not intended, and should not be relied upon, to replace the due diligence and – when appropriate – expert consultation that coin buyers and sellers should undertake when entering into a coin transaction. As such, NGC disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in the NGC Auction Central. By using the NGC Auction Central, the user agrees that neither NGC nor any of its affiliates, shareholders, officers, employees or agents shall have any liability for any loss or damage of any kind, including without limitation any loss arising from reliance on the information contained in the NGC Auction Central.