4 Dollars, Pattern, United States,1879

4 Dollars, Pattern, United States,1879

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United States Mint, Philadelphia. Obverse: Liberty head with coiled hair, facing left; fineness around, date below. Reverse: Large star, denomination below. The four-dollar gold piece, or Stella, was the brainchild of the United States minister to Austria-Hungary, John A. Kasson. Kasson wanted an American gold coin that would trade on a par with a number of European counterparts, and the Stella seemed to be the answer.
Patterns were struck in a variety of metals, with two depictions of Liberty. George T. Morgan was responsible for this version, a goddess with coiled hair. Charles E. Barber contributed the second idea, a Liberty with flowing hair.
At the time, aluminum was popular as a pattern coinage metal. It was scarce, and it took a lovely impression from the dies. Experts call this piece a high Rarity-7, suggesting that four to six pieces exist.
[reference no. Judd 1640]
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
U.S. Mint
Place Made
United States
Physical Description
gilt aluminum (overall material)
overall: 21.6 mm; 27/32 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Harvey G. and Lawrence R. Stack
See more items in
Work and Industry: National Numismatic Collection
Coins, Currency and Medals
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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