1880 $4 Stella Coiled Hair Cameo coin
Los Angeles — 5 Aug 2013 - Bonhams will
offer an extraordinary 1880 $4 Stella Coiled Hair Cameo coin, estimated to
sell for between $1,000,000-1,500,000, in the September 23 Coins and Medals
auction. The coin is one of many highlights from the Tacasyl Collection of
Magnificent United States Proof Gold Coins on offer, a 27-strong selection
assembled by a private collector of nearly every major American gold coin
design in proof between 1836 and 1915.
coins were briefly produced between 1879-1880, in an ill-fated attempt to
join the Latin Monetary Union (LMU), spearheaded by John A. Kasson, a former
chairman of the United States House Committee on Coinage, Weights, and
Measures. The coins were meant to contain an equivalent amount of precious
metal as the 20-franc Napoleon coin used throughout Europe. Congress
eventually rejected Kasson's plan, but several hundred Stellas had already
been minted. Rumour has it the coins caused quite a scandal when they began
appearing in the jewellery of some of Washington's most notorious madams.
Only 425 Stellas were produced in total, and none were ever approved for
circulation. Stellas are therefore "pattern coins," meaning that they were
produced purely for the purpose of evaluation and not authorised for use as
currency. Two different Stella patterns were produced, both featuring a
profile of Lady Liberty and a star on the reverse. One type shows her with
long, flowing hair while the other type features a tightly coiled updo.
The Tacasyl collection features no less than four outstanding Stellas, but
it is only the 1880 Coiled Hair Cameo that commands a seven figure estimate.
According to the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), the coin on offer is
tied for the finest Stella example currently known, and is considered the
best preserved. With its rich yellow-red colour, deeply mirrored surfaces,
and naturalistic design, the extremely rare coin is virtually unimprovable.
"The $4 Stella Coiled Hair cameo coin is almost like the 'great white whale'
for coin collectors, in that it has eluded so many of the best. Without a
doubt, offering this coin and indeed the entire Tacasyl collection is the
highlight of my career," said Paul Song, Director of the Rare Coins and
Medals Department at Bonhams.
The Tacasyl Collection of Magnificent United States Gold Proof Coins will be
offered on September 23 as part of the Coins and Medals auction at Bonhams
Los Angeles. The auction will preview at the American Numismatic Association
World's Fair of Money in Rosemont, IL, August 13-17 and Bonhams Los Angeles,
A complete catalogue will be available online at www.bonhams.com/auctions/20992