The US rare coin market remains strong and is a “movable” asset class as is the case with ancient coins. A rare US $4 dollar “Coiled Hair Stella” gold coin from 1880 was auctioned at Bonhams in Los Angeles on Monday, bringing $2.5 million, or $1 million more than expected.
The coin contains six grams of pure gold and is actually a pattern that was never released into circulation, unable to gather sufficient public support for this unusual denomination. This 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, but remain a classic pattern coin although never actually issued or monetized.