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HomeAuctionsRare $4 ‘Coiled Hair Stella’ coins appear in Heritage CSNS auction

Rare $4 ‘Coiled Hair Stella’ coins appear in Heritage CSNS auction


Rare gold pattern headlines The New Orleans Collection, presented by Heritage Auctions’ as part of its Central States Numismatic Society (CSNS) Convention auction; accompanied by high-grade 1933 $10, a fabled rarity

A simply stunning 1880 $4 Coiled Hair Stella PR67 NGC CAC, the rarest of the four Stella varieties and the ideal Registry Set candidate, will cross the block as part of Heritage Auctions’ April 22-26 Central States Numismatic Society (CSNS) Signature® Auction, anchoring The New Orleans Collection and the entire auction.

“The 1880 Coiled Hair Stella is, in no uncertain terms, an extraordinary issue and one of the great treasures in United States numismatics,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. “It’s the rarest date in a series renowned for remarkably low production totals across the board. In addition to the issue’s fascinating history, this particular representative’s outstanding preservation and corresponding high technical grade undoubtedly make it one of the most desirable and important Stellas available to collectors.”

The Stella was originally intended – as proposed in 1879 by John A. Kasson, Minister Plenipotentiary to Austria – as a $4 metric gold coin to be used for foreign trade. It never matched up directly with the foreign currency it was supposed to match and the idea was soon abandoned, leaving just a few examples as treasures for numismatists.

A second rare Stella, this an 1879 $4 Coiled Hair Stella PR65 PCGS CAC, follows its 1880 counterpart across the block. This particular Stella is one of just 12 of the very rare Judd-1638 patterns traced, 12 examples traced. It is, without a doubt, one of the premier rarities in American numismatics. The New Orleans Collection 1880 $4 Flowing Hair Stella PR66, the finest Non-Cameo PCGS, a legendary gold pattern, presents another significant opportunity to the right collector.

Of major importance anytime one shows up at auction, a 1933 $10 MS65 PCGS CAC from The New Orleans Collection, the fabled Final-Year Indian $10 and an historically significant melt rarity, is already creating significant collector buzz (and bidding) before the auction.

“There are many key dates in 20th century gold series, but while some are the result of low mintage figures and high attrition,” said Rohan, “there are a few which are rare for the sole reason that they were almost completely obliterated by the stroke of pen.”

The gold confiscation order of April 5, 1933, officially known as President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 6102, was one of the most destructive acts of the United States government in regards to American numismatics, wiping out almost the entire run of 1933 U.S. gold coinage. It is estimated that only 25 to 30 examples exists today. In 20 years Heritage has offered only seven different examples of this incredible melt rarity, with the coins making a collective total of just 10 auction appearances in the Heritage archives. The most recent auction was a $402,500 price realized for an MS64+ PCGS example in 2012. The current Gem example is decidedly superior to that coin in terms of both technical and aesthetic merit.

Further highlights from The New Orleans Collection offered by Heritage at CSNS include, but are not limited to:

1795 $10 13 Leaves MS63 PCGS CAC, important first-year type coin: Simply stunning high quality is on ample display in this 1795 13 Leaves eagle, certified MS63 by PCGS and with the CAC green approval sticker. The faint and well-placed planchet adjustment marks might suggest that the Mint personnel in 1795 were well aware of the importance of these first and largest-denomination gold coins.

1880 $10 Liberty Eagle PR64 Cameo NCG, very rare issue, only seven examples traced, Ex: Garrett: Only 36 proof Liberty eagles were struck in 1880, apparently all for inclusion in the proof sets of the year. Either some of the coins were never distributed or the issue suffered an unusually high rate of attrition over the years, as the 1880 eagle is a formidable rarity in proof format today. Experts estimate the surviving population at 10-12 examples in all grades, but Heritage can only account for seven distinct specimens. Once a highlight of the famous Garrett Collection, it was purchased directly from the Philadelphia Mint as part of a complete gold proof set by T. Harrison Garret, on Feb. 10, 1880, according to his invoice. The coin was cataloged in lot 1676 of the Garrett Collection, Part III in 1980, where it realized a strong price of $27,000. It has not been offered publicly since, so this lot marks just its second auction appearance in 135 years.

1859 $5 Half Eagle MS62 NGC Gold CAC, among finest known: A low mintage of 16,734 pieces makes the 1859 elusive in any grade, but Mint State examples are unquestionably rare. This nicely struck yellow-gold representative is probably the finest known, given its gold CAC seal, prior generation holder, and the absence of any examples certified finer by either major service.


About Heritage Auctions

Heritage Auctions is the largest auction house founded in the United States and the world’s third largest, with annual sales of more than $900 million, and 900,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and receive access to a complete record of prices realized, with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.

Charles Morgan
Charles Morgan
Charles Morgan is an award-winning numismatic author and the editor and publisher of CoinWeek.com. Along with co-author Hubert Walker, he has written for CoinWeek since 2012, as well as the "Market Whimsy" column for The Numismatist and the book 100 Greatest Modern World Coins (2020) for Whitman Publishing. From 2021-2023, Charles served as Governor of the American Numismatic Association (ANA), where he was bestowed the Glenn Smedley Award. Charles is a member of numerous numismatic organizations, including the American Numismatic Society (ANS) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG).

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