Coins Certified as of 1/24

My Coin #-39933

1880 $4 Coiled Hair PR64

PCGS#: 8060

Owner's Comments

Estimated grade. Sold by B. Max Mehl Jun '41 price realized $475

Expert Comments

David Akers (1975/88): Although the reported mintage for this pattern is identical to that of the 1879 coiled hair stella, it appeared three less times at auction than the the 1879 coiled hair in the 238 catalogues we surveyed, and, if one examines all auctions back to the first appearance of both patterns (1882 for the 1879 coiled hair and 1906 for the 1880 coiled hair), the difference in rarity is even more obvious since the 1880 has been offered at auction only about two thirds as often as the 1879 coiled hair. This is undoubtedly due to the fact that the 1879 was restruck in small quantities, whereas the 1880 certainly was not resrtuck in the strict sense of the word (see my comments on the 1880 flowing hair), although it is possible that a small additional quantity was minted later in 1880. I really doubt that this is the case, however, and feel that the generally accepted mintage figure of ten pieces is probably correct.

However, it should be pointed out that 1880 coiled hair stellas have two distinctly different "finishes". The piece in the Smithsonian Institution and the one offered in the 1976 ANA Sale are both frosted proofs, that is, the devices are frosted while the fileds are mirrolike. However, the specimen that appeared in Paramount's Davies/Niewoehner Sale and the peice that was formerly in the Wilkison Collection are both fully brilliant proofs, so mirrorlike, in fact, that they give the appearance of having been polished, when in reality they were undoubtedly struck that way. So this pattern, even more than J-1638 and J-1657, has an aura of mystery about it. If only ten pieces were struck, it is virtually certain that they were not struck at the same time because of the two different finishes. However, there does remain the possibility that the original ten were the frosted type and the brilliant specimens are from an additional quantity that was struck later in that year, or vice-versa. Whatever the case, this stella remains the rarest of the four, and although at the time of writin my book on U.S. gold patterns I could account for only seven pieces, I can now acount for nine, split five and four between frosted proofs and brilliant ones respectively.


David Hall: The 1880 Coiled Hair is the rarest of the $4 Stellas. The original mintage was probably 10 coins and in my opinion only 5 or 6 survive today.


P. Scott Rubin: The 1880 Coiled Hair Four Dollar Gold coin sold for $2,574,000, in the September 23, 2013 Bonhams Sale of the Tacasyl specimen. Now graded at Proof-67 Cameo this same coin sold for $977,500, when it was graded at Proof-66 when offered in the 2005 Heritage Fun sale.

This is the rarest of the four coins making up the Four Dollar Gold or Stella coinage series. This short lived denomination was only struck with dates of 1879 and 1880, each year contains both a Flowing Hair and Coiled Hair variety.

An 1880 Coiled Hair Stella made its first auction appearance of the variety in the 1906 Chapman Sale of the H.P. Smith Collection this was the last of the four varieties to appear at auction, this same sale also contained the other three varieties hence this was the first sale to offer all four gold Stellas.

Since this first auction (until September, 2013) I have found there have been only thirty-five total auction appearances of this coin in over one hundred years. This compares with sixty-two sales of the 1879 Coiled Hair and ninety-three sales of the 1880 Flowing Hair variety. Compare this one hundred and ninety-five auction appearances of all three variety to the at least nine hundred and nineteen auction appearances of the 1879 Flowing Hair variety.

Diameter: 22.00 millimeters Designer: George T. Morgan/Charles E. Barber Edge: Reeded
Mintage: 10 Weight: 7.00 grams Metal Content: 86% Gold, 4% Silver, 10% Copper

Rarity and Survival Estimates

Grades Survival Estimate Numismatic Rarity Relative Rarity by Type Relative Rarity by Series
All Grades 8 R-9.6 1 / 2 1 / 4
60 or Better 8 R-9.6 1 / 2 1 / 4
65 or Better 4 R-9.8 1 / 2 1 / 4

Condition Census

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 PR66 PCGS grade  
1 PR66 estimated grade  

S. Hallock du Pont Collection - Sotheby's 9/1982:252, $102,300 (originally part of a four-piece set of Stellas) - Superior 8/1991:707, $440,000 - New Orleans Collection - Heritage 4/2015:5301, $1,821,250

3 PR65 PCGS grade  
3 PR65 PCGS grade  
5 PR64 PCGS grade