1861-S $20 Paquet XF45 PCGS....
Choice XF 1861-S Paquet Double Eagle1861-S $20 Paquet XF45 PCGS. In this age of easy and nearly instantaneous communication, it is easy to forget that the flow of information has become far more rapid in recent decades. Twenty years ago, most of the people on the Internet today were not; just over a half-century ago, the first United States presidential debate was televised; and a generation before that, air mail was not a routine fact of global commerce but a distinctive service marked by danger and costly stamps. In 1861, the difference in communication between America east of the Mississippi River and west of it became especially apparent.
At the beginning of 1861, not only was transcontinental rail incomplete, but not even transcontinental telegraph lines were established. When the Philadelphia Mint discovered problems with the Paquet reverse to the double eagle, it sent telegraphs on January 5th to the branch mints in New Orleans and San Francisco. New Orleans was connected directly to Philadelphia by telegraph, and the Southern facility never released any Paquet-reverse twenties.
For the main Mint's message to reach San Francisco, however, it had to go to the western telegraph terminus at St. Joseph in extreme western Missouri, whereupon it was sent along with other mail via mounted courier--the legendary Pony Express. The message did not reach San Francisco Mint Superintendent Charles Hempstead until February 2nd, and he was forced to reply that he had struck and released a number of Paquet twenties. In his words, "The amount issued was $385,000." This translates to 19,250 pieces.
The Paquet twenties experienced considerable wear, and only a relative handful survive today. Offered here is a Choice XF example, yellow-gold with prominent orange overtones and a handful of copper spots along the reverse rim. Scattered minor digs and light, even wear contribute to the grade, but the coin offers significant overall appeal. Population: 22 in 45, 30 finer (11/10).
From The Las Vegas Collection, Part Two.(Registry values: N4719) (NGC ID# 269L, PCGS# 8936)
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