In the 1870s the Congress
decided that we needed a gold
coin for international trade
. (see Trade Dollar
for the silver
version) After much debate its was decided in 1879
that a few sample coins should be made.
Called ”Stellas” Congress
made three orders for the coins: 25 in January, 100 in early April, and 300 in mid May. Collectors tried everything to get a hold of examples, but the mint would not release any at any price.
Then the scandal broke out, It seems that the madam
s of Washington
’s finest brothel
s had turned many of the coins into jewelry. Since they could have received them only from congressmen, the newspapers of the day had a scandal that would make a modern day politician proud, to write about. Today nice “Stellas” sell for between $40,000 - $60,000, and those that show tell tale signs of have been jewelry are always among the first sold.
Finess .900 gold remainder silver and copper
Weight 7 grams