Despite its moderate nominal value, a rare American coin of $4 could reach at the auction something between $1,000,000-1,500,000. Bonhams will offer a 1880 $4 Stella Coiled Hair Cameo coin, on the 23 September at Coins and Medals auction. The coin is one of many highlights from the Tacasyl Collection of Magnificent United States Proof Gold Coins on offer, which contains major American gold coin design in proof between 1836 and 1915. Stella coins wer produced between 1879-1880, in an ill-fated attempt to join the Latin Monetary Union (LMU).
The coins were meant to contain an equivalent amount of precious metal as the 20-franc Napoleon coin used throughout Europe. Congress eventually this plan, but several hundred Stellas had already been minted. Rumor has it the coins caused quite a scandal when they began appearing in the jewelry of some of Washington’s most notorious madams. Only 425 Stellas were produced in total and they are “pattern coins,” meaning that they were produced purely for the purpose of evaluation and not authorized 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.