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Famous XF 1861-S Paquet Twenty

1861-S $20 Paquet XF40 NGC. The 1861-S Paquet double eagle, though now regarded as a great treasure among Liberty twenties, was little-appreciated for almost a century after its production. Early numismatists took little notice of the anomalous tall-lettered reverse, a note in the July 1895 edition of the American Journal of Numismatics notwithstanding, and it was not until the 1950s that the 1861-S Paquet joined the generally accepted pantheon of regular double eagle issues.
The early stages of repatriation of American gold from European banks also enhanced interest in the Paquet pieces. Q. David Bowers, in his A Guide Book of Double Eagle Gold Coins, cites the case of one Paul H. Wittlin, who sorted through the immense reserves of several banks and reportedly turned up at least two dozen 1861-S Paquet twenties. Later discoveries further increased the population of known survivors.
Bowers writes in the same volume: "The 1861-S Paquet double eagle is the rarest of all San Francisco Mint coins of this denomination. About 200 examples, more or less, are known to exist today, all of which are in circulated grades." Though the present piece has experienced appreciable circulation, it is pleasing nonetheless. Its wheat-gold surfaces retain significant luster, particularly at the margins, and the overall definition is close to the average for known S-mint Paquet survivors. Wispy abrasions are widely scattered in the fields, though more significant marks are few; an area below Liberty's eye shows the only individually mentionable flaw on the portrait. This lot comes with an attractive custom wood case with inset brass plaque that identifies the coin as a Paquet Reverse double eagle. Census: 9 in 40, 62 finer (6/08).(Registry values: N4719) (NGC ID# 269L, PCGS# 8936)

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Auction Dates
Jul-Aug, 2008
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 10
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