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1861-S Paquet Reverse Twenty, XF45
Famous One-Year Type

1861-S $20 Paquet XF45 NGC. The career of Anthony C. Paquet is rather checkered, even for someone who bore the title of assistant engraver at the U.S. Mint. Born in Hamburg in 1814, Paquet moved to America in 1840 and had an engraving shop in New York City in the mid-1850s. As early as 1856 Paquet was engaged in medal engraving, having prepared the dies for a presidential campaign medal of John C. Fremont. The medal, curiously, is described but not illustrated in Robert Julian's Medals of the United States Mint: The First Century 1792-1892. Auction offerings show the medal, Julian-PE-11, with strangely small obverse lettering identifying Fremont and the signature PAQUET, NEW-YORK, below the bust. The reverse reads THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS ECHO BACK FREMONT / THE PEOPLE'S CHOICE FOR 1856 / CONSTITUTIONAL FREEDOM within a wreath of oak leaves, tied with a ribbon inscribed FREE SOIL MEN.

Even though Paquet signed the Fremont medal, the artistry and execution are mundane at best; only the taller letters on PEOPLE'S CHOICE suggest the lettering that would reappear five years later on the 1861-P and 1861-S Paquet Reverse double eagles. Saul Teichman notes on that while Paquet signed many Mint medals, his pattern designs are unsigned.

The Paquet Reverse double eagles are in reality a fleeting one-year type, even though they are collected alongside other series issues as part of the business strikes. The distinctive reverse was unsuited for coinage, and the 19,250 pieces, struck before the unusual reverse die was retired, mostly slipped into circulation. Only 200 or so examples of the 1861-S survive, and collectors today treasure any representative they might chance to acquire.

This representative is lightly circulated, though high-point wear is even and the surfaces are remarkably free of any major abrasions. Warm honey-gold color and faint remnants of luster in the reverse crevices attest to the originality of this Choice example. Given the scarcity and immense popularity of this famous issue, the coin here offered should draw ample attention from the double eagle specialist. Census: 14 in 45, 45 finer (6/14).(Registry values: N4719) (NGC ID# 269L, PCGS# 8936)

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Auction Dates
August, 2014
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 9
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