An extremely rare 1879 $4 gold coin could sell for $1 million when it is auctioned next month.
The 400 cent piece, known as the $4 Gold Stella, is valued at roughly $200,000 but could sell for $1 million, according to auction house Stack’s Bowers Galleries.
The coin, which is based on the 1803 Napoleonic Franc, was designed as a “universal coin” that could be exchangeable with any currency around the world, according to Stack’s Bowers Galleries. Designed to boost U.S. commerce, the Stella was minted to match the “Latin Monetary Union,” a group of European nations that aimed to create easily exchangeable currencies.
“Despite the interest in the coin, the denomination never received enough Congressional support to proceed with regular full-scale production,” said Stack’s Bowers Galleries, in a press release. “The denomination had no exact European counterpart due to the ratio of metals used not precisely matching LMU standards, was an unusual denomination, and seemed to have no real specific commercial use.”
The front of the $4 Gold Stella coin. (Stack’s Bowers Galleries)
It is unclear how many of the unusual 1879 coins were struck, with estimates ranging from 425 pieces to 800 coins.
“The Stella represents an attempt to integrate the world’s money as one,” said Brian Kendrella, president of Stack’s Bowers Galleries, in the press release. “We still haven’t been able to do this even today but this coin represents the closest we likely ever came.”
The coin will be auctioned at the Whitman Baltimore Winter Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center on Nov. 14.
The back of the extremely rare $4 coin. (Stack’s Bowers Galleries)
Rare coins can command hefty sums. Other Stellas have been sold by Stack’s Bowers Galleries for $400,00 and $646,000, respectively.
An 1894 dime, once owned by former Lakers owner Jerry Buss, was recently sold at auction for $1.32 million, including the buyer’s commission. The 1894-S dime was one of only 24 minted, and only nine of the dimes are known to exist.
The Stella coin is valued at $200,000, but could sell for $1 million, according to auction house Stack’s Bowers Galleries.
(Stack’s Bowers Galleries.)
In 2016, an 1894-S dime sold for $2 million at a Florida auction.
The Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers