1880 Stella Gold $4: Coiled Hair

The 1880 Coiled Hair Stella Gold $4 coin is a numismatic marvel that epitomizes the intersection of artistry, rarity, and historical significance.

Produced as part of the ill-fated Stella series, these coins were intended to facilitate international trade but were never circulated widely, rendering them exceptionally rare and coveted by collectors.

Designed by Charles E. Barber, the obverse of the 1880 Stella Gold $4 coin features a majestic portrait of Liberty facing left, her hair intricately coiled and adorned with a coronet inscribed with the word "LIBERTY."

Surrounding her are thirteen stars representing the original colonies. The reverse showcases a stunning depiction of a heraldic eagle with outstretched wings, clutching an olive branch and arrows, with a radiant sunburst in the background. Encircling the eagle are the inscriptions "ONE STELLA" and "400 CENTS," indicating its denomination.

What sets the Coiled Hair variety apart from its Flowing Hair counterpart is the redesigned hairstyle of Liberty, featuring tightly coiled hair instead of the flowing tresses seen on earlier versions. This modification was made in response to criticisms of the original design's impracticality and susceptibility to wear.

Despite their intended purpose, Stella coins never gained traction in commerce and were produced in limited quantities, with only around 15 to 20 examples minted.

As a result, the Coiled Hair Stella Gold $4 coin stands as one of the rarest and most sought-after coins in American numismatics.

For collectors, acquiring a Coiled Hair Stella represents a pinnacle achievement due to its scarcity, exquisite design, and historical significance. Each coin is a testament to the ambition and creativity of the United States Mint during the late 19th century and serves as a tangible link to a bygone era of monetary experimentation.

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