Rare $4 gold coin could fetch $1.5 million


American coinage runs the gamut from the half cent to the $50 gold piece, and many all-but-forgotten denominations in between.

Take, for example, the $4 gold piece, minted in 1879 and 1880.

Also known as a Stella, the $4 coin was produced to explore the possibility of the US joining the Latin Monetary Union.

It was meant to contain a quantity of gold similar to that of the standard LMU gold piece, the 20-franc Napoleon minted in France, Switzerland, and other countries that belonged to the Latin Monetary Union.

The Stella was a pattern coin, which means it was proposed and produced in small numbers but never received approval for public circulation.

Even though just a few dozen Stellas are known to exist, four will go up for sale on Sept. 23 in Los Angeles when auction house Bonhams puts the spectacular Tacasyl Collection – 27 American gold coins in all – on the block.

The 1880 Coiled Hair Stella, featuring the image of Liberty with a braided plait on top of her head, could fetch $1.5 million or more.

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