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$1.5 Million Gold Stella?
By Numismatic News
August 09, 2013

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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With an estimate of $1 million to $1.5 million, a proof 1880 Coiled Hair Stella $4 gold piece will star at Bonhams Sept. 23 auction of the Tacasyl Collection of proof gold coins in Los Angeles.

The coin is graded Cameo PF-67 by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.

According to the catalog, “NGC has certified just one other as PF67 Cameo and none finer.”

This coin is described as “having rich yellow-red color with exceptional frosting of the devices over deeply mirrored surfaces. A minimal lint mark to the right of the second 7 on the obverse, and a small (mint-caused) line ascending from the upper left point of the star between .7 and C are two hallmarks to identify this specimen. An amazing example which is virtually unimprovable.”

The catalog also notes that David Akers said an aura of mystery surrounds the issue of 1880 Coiled Hair Stellas.

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“He noticed that the issue came with two distinctly different finishes. The first group (as displayed on this specimen and that in the Smithsonian, for example) has frosted devices and mirrorlike fields; those of the second variety are effectively brilliant proofs with little if any cameo contrast (indeed, Akers states that they appear polished). He suggested that one variety, probably the first group (as the Smithsonian’s example bears these features) may be original strikes, and the other re-strikes, but there is no data thus far known which would support such a conjecture.

“Suffice it to say, as Akers did, ‘this stella remains the rarest of the four.’”

There are four Stellas, Flowing Hair and Coiled Hair designs dated 1879 and 1880.

All four will be featured in this sale. The other three are as follows:

An NGC Cameo PF-67 1879 Flowing Hair design is estimated to bring $200,000-$300,000.

An NGC Cameo PF-67 1879 Coiled Hair coin is estimated $600,000 to $900,000.

An NGC PF-67 1880 Flowing Hair coin is estimated at $550,000 to $750,000.

Overall, there are 27 proof gold coins in the sale.

A complete catalog will be available online at

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