The $4 Coiled Hair Stella gold coin from 1880 is scheduled to be auctioned on September 23 by Bonhams in Los Angeles and could pull in up to $1.5 million. The extraordinary coin containing six grams of pure gold was struck in the United States, but never released into circulation and will be sold in a lot with 26 other coins worth up to $8 million. Paul Song, director of rare coins for Bonhams told Reuters, “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 explained that the rare miniature work of art, featuring a representation of Liberty, was designed to match the weight of coinage of countries in the Latin Monetary Union like France, Belgium and Switzerland, to make intercountry trading easier. He said, “At the end of the day, there was just not enough public support for it, and it became a political issue so it was basically a scrap heap of history, which also is what makes it so rare today." Song added, "The 1880 $4 Coiled Hair Stella is one of the so-called white whales of the coin collecting world. They are so rare, they come on the market maybe once or twice, at most, every decade…That particular coin, there's only 10 or 12 now, and most of these are in public institutions or private collections.” The 27-piece Tacasyl Collection are all gold proof and available for public viewing from September 20-22.
More information: Reuters/Bonhams