1861-S $20 PAQUET
Rare 1861-S Paquet Twenty XF 401861-S Paquet XF 40 PCGS. A lustrous, evenly worn example of this rare issue. A couple of minor rim bruises on the reverse are barely noticed after encapsulation. Akers calls this issue "the rarest Liberty Head Double Eagle from the San Francisco Mint. Its only really close competitor for that distinction is the 1866-S No Motto but, in my opinion, there are more of the latter in existence than there are 1861-S Paquets." At a casual glance, few observers would notice any difference between the Paquet and the normal reverse. However, a side-by-side comparison reveals several differences, most notably in the lettering. The width of the central element is also greater and the stars are placed lower in the rays which appear above them.
The Paquet reverse failed because the rim was too narrow and the surfaces of the coin were exposed to too much abrasion. Despite a seemingly high mintage of slightly less than 20,000 pieces, the 1861-S Paquet reverse was not noticed until 1937. Breen notes that, "Paul Wittlin turned up 25-30 in French and Swiss banks in the mid-1950s, mostly VF to EF with plenty of bagmarks." Apparently, these account for most of the known specimens. (NGC ID# 269L, PCGS# 8936)
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