By James McCartney – Director of Consignments and Numismatics, Stack’s Bowers Galleries ……
The 1861-S Paquet Reverse is perhaps the most famous collectible Type I double eagle even among those who do not specialize in the series.
Anthony C. Paquet was born in Hamburg, Germany on December 5, 1814, and arrived in Philadelphia in 1848. In early 1857, he took up contract work for the Philadelphia Mint before being hired as an assistant engraver. By far his most well-known work is the United States military’s highest decoration for valor, the Medal of Honor, instituted by President Abraham Lincoln on July 12, 1861. Among his other projects at the Mint were a series of unsigned pattern coins, including a fascinating copper double eagle pattern, Judd-257. To this day, the reverse dies he prepared for the 1861 double eagles remain the only coin designs that have been positively attributed to Paquet, who left the Mint in 1864.
On January 5, 1861, production using the new reverse dies by Paquet began at the Philadelphia Mint and was almost immediately halted after concerns were raised that the narrow rim of the reverse design would wear poorly. Mint Director James Ross Snowden sent directives to New Orleans and San Francisco to cease use of the new dies and return to using the original Longacre dies. Snowden’s directive did not reach the San Francisco Mint until early February after 19,250 double eagles with Paquet’s reverse had been struck and subsequently issued. The typical survivor is well worn, if not also impaired, and to this day, not a single problem-free Mint State example has been confirmed by PCGS or NGC.
Stack’s Bowers is thrilled to offer a beautiful AU-53 (PCGS) 1861-S Paquet $20 in our Spring 2022 Showcase Auction, one of only about 250 survivors known. It displays bright yellow-gold surfaces that are accented by hints of honey patina. Considerable satiny luster is seen in the protected areas and the details are uniformly bold. Alongside several New Orleans issues from the 1850s, the 1861-S Paquet reverse represents a key to this type and we expect considerable excitement when this piece crosses the auction block.
This exceptional AU-53 (PCGS) 1861-S Paquet double eagle will be featured in our Spring Showcase Auction, held in conjunction with the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo in Baltimore. For questions about this rarity or to consign your collection to this sale, please contact Stack’s Bowers Galleries at 800-566-2580 or email [email protected].