Today, September 23, the auction house Bonhams in Los Angeles, CA, will be offering 27 valuable gold coins, among them a very rare $4 gold coin known as the Coiled Hair Stella. This coin was minted in the U.S. in 1880 and is valued at up to $1.5 million. The front of the gold coin features the profile of Lady Liberty with her hair tightly coiled on top of her head, while the reverse side shows a star with the inscriptions “ONE STELLA” and “400 CENTS”. The Coiled Hair Stella coin contains six grams of pure gold.
Paul Song, director of rare coins at Bonham reports that the 1880 $4 Coiled Hair Stella is one of the finest and rarest items in the coin-collecting world. It was initially designed to match the weight of coinage in countries in the Latin Monetary Union (LMU) like France, Belgium and Switzerland, to make trading in Europe easier. However, the coin and the prospect of joining the LMU were rejected by Congress, but not before a few hundred coins had already been struck.
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Since the Coiled Hair Stella never circulated, they are exceedingly rare. Song states, “They are so rare, they come on the market maybe once or twice, at most, every decade…That particular gold coin, there’s only 10 or 12 now, and most of these are in public institutions or private collections.” Moreover, Bonham emphasizes the exceptional craftsmanship of the coin: “The braided plait on top of Liberty’s head is delicately and intricately engraved, and the portrait of Liberty is fully modeled and has a distinct individual personality. “
In addition, the auction will sell 26 other gold coins worth up to $8 million. “That’s an average lot value of almost $300,000 per coin. That may not be a Monet painting but in my world, that’s pretty amazing. It’s been a privilege to handle them, and they are gorgeous, just because they’re gold, perfectly struck and the designs are really incredible,” Song adds. All coins are available for public viewing from September 20 to 22.