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This article is about the United States coin. For other uses of the name, "Stella", see Stella (disambiguation).
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1879 Flowing Hair Stella
Coin from 1879
General information

Flag of the United States United States





Measurements and composition

7 g


22 mm


1.52 mm


6 g gold, 0.3 g silver, 0.7 g copper






Liberty, year


Five-pointed star, state title, value, "e pluribus unum", "deo est gloria"

v · d · e

The Stella was a coin minted by the United States from 1879 to 1880. It had a value of four dollars, and was sometimes called the four-dollar coin.

It was a pattern coin produced to explore the possibilities of joining the Latin Monetary Union, which was urged by former chairman of the United States House Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures, John A. Kasson. The coin was to contain an amount of precious metal similar to the gold piece of the Latin Monetary Union, the 20 franc Napoleon coin minted in France, Switzerland, and other members of the union.


Two different designs were used for the obverse of the Stella. Both displayed Liberty, but the difference was her hair. The "Flowing Hair" Stella was designed by the current Chief Engraver, Charles E. Barber, while the "Coiled Hair" Stella was designed by George T. Morgan. However, both had the same inscription, "★6★G★.3★S★.7★C★7★G★R★A★M★S★" and the date of minting. The reverse displayed a five-pointed star inscribed with the words, "ONE STELLA" and "400 CENTS", along with the state name, value, and the legends, "E PLURIBUS UNUM" ("Out of many, one"), and "DEO EST GLORIA" ("To God is the glory").

The coin and idea of joining the Latin Monetary Union were denied by the United States Congress, but not before hundreds of restrikes of Barber's design were produced and sold to congressmen. The coin later became a source of scandal when many of these coins ended up as jewelry pieces to women operating some of Washington D.C.'s most famous brothels.

In 1879, five examples of a Stella denominated at five times its original value, at twenty dollars, were also produced. These coins used an image of the then-used Liberty Head design of the double eagle, replacing stars on the obverse with the inscription, "★30★G★1.5★S★3.5★C★35★G★R★A★M★S★", and the motto, "IN GOD WE TRUST" with "DEO EST GLORIA" found on the original Stella coins.

Only 425 Stella coins were ever produced.


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