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    Description

    1861 Paquet Double Eagle, MS67, CAC
    By Far the Finer of Only Two Known Examples
    Ex: Brand-Farouk-Norweb
    New Thoughts on a Classic Rarity

    1861 $20 Paquet MS67 PCGS. CAC. Ex: Norweb. The 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagle is one of the rarest coins in American numismatics, and this example stands at the absolute pinnacle of rarity and exquisite condition. The issue has been a fabulous rarity since the day it was struck and only two examples are known to collectors today. Thus, the 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagle is arguably as rare as the MS65 (also by PCGS and CAC) 1933 double eagle, which recently sold for a record $18,872,250 on June 8, 2021 at Sotheby's. The National Collection contains at least 10 1933 double eagles, and others almost certainly exist, although only one is legal to own privately under United States law.

    Historically, the 1861 Paquet has been collected as both a pattern and a business strike Liberty double eagle. In the fourth edition of their famous reference, 100 Greatest U.S. Coins, Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth note, "With the explosion of interest in U.S. double eagles, the 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagle is now held in the same regard as the great classics of the series." To quote Doug Winter, "It is by far the rarest regular issue Double Eagle, and no set of Liberty Head Double Eagles can be complete without the inclusion of this issue."

    Perhaps just as important, interest in pattern issues -- especially examples in the finest possible condition -- has been greatly stimulated in recent times by Heritage Auctions' sale of Bob Simpson's remarkable collection, and the 1861 Paquet Reverse twenty would be a tremendous prize for advanced collectors of the pattern series. That being said, the appeal of the 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagle extends far beyond the boundaries of any single series. The beauty of its innovative design and its fascinating history make the issue a true American classic. Heritage Auctions is indeed privileged to present the finest-known specimen of this landmark rarity in this important offering.

    Additionally, the Civil War dates of 1861-1865 have become an even more popular numismatic collecting theme in recent years. This coin would obviously and indisputably become the centerpiece -- and the "stopper" for any other collector's achievement -- of the finest such collection.

    The Enigmatic Paquet Reverse Double Eagle

    Paquet Reverse double eagles have been avidly collected since they first appeared on the numismatic auction scene in 1865, just four years after the coins were struck. Despite its long auction history and acclaimed status as a premier numismatic rarity, the Paquet Reverse double eagle has always been a mysterious issue. Its true nature has puzzled numismatic scholars for 160 years and many key facts about the issue only came to light long after its discovery. Today, we know Paquet Reverse double eagles were struck at two U.S. Mints, Philadelphia and San Francisco, but that important fact was largely unknown before the late 1930s. Similarly, we now know the Philadelphia and San Francisco reverse designs are different, struck from an entirely different hub that employed the same punches in a slightly different arrangement. This key fact was only discovered in 1988 and its implications are still being debated today. Expert opinion on the true nature of the Paquet Reverse double eagle is split, with different authorities reaching different conclusions about the character of this enigmatic issue over the years. We have thoroughly examined the historical record and studied the latest evidence to achieve a better understanding of this important issue. Our findings are presented below.

    Assistant Engraver Anthony C. Paquet

    The following biography of Anthony C. Paquet appeared previously in our description of the only other known example of the 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagle, which was sold in lot 5702 of the Chicago ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/2014).

    Assistant Mint Engraver Anthony C. Paquet was born on December 5, 1814 in Hamburg, Germany and emigrated to the United States in October 1848. The cataloger for the coin mentioned above, which was sold in the Dallas Bank Collection (Sotheby's/Stack's, 10/2001), said that "he is believed to be the son of one Tuissaint Francois Paquet." Paquet worked in Philadelphia and New York from 1850 to 1857, before joining the Mint staff on October 20, 1857. The nature of his earliest work in America is unknown. He remained in the Mint's service until 1864 and did additional contract work before and after his period of employment. He continued living in Philadelphia until his death in 1882. Paquet is most famous for the 1861 double eagles that are named for him. He also prepared a design modification for the 1859 half dime.

    While at the Mint, Paquet created several patterns in addition to the 1861 double eagles that he is most famous for, although most of his work was engraving dies for numerous Mint medals. He prepared the dies for the first Congressional Medal of Honor as well as Indian Peace medals for Presidents Johnson and Grant.

    In Numismatic Art in America, author Cornelius Vermeule discussed Paquet's work: "With the exception of several Mint medals, which prove his qualities as a master of incisive verism or of heroic sentiment in the early Victorian classical tradition, Paquet never had a chance to demonstrate his abilities as an official engraver. He soon left the government coining establishment for other, related work."

    Paquet has not always been given appropriate credit for his talent. Donald Taxay wrote about Paquet in The U.S. Mint and Coinage: "Paquet possessed a very modest talent, and his dies, with but one brief exception, were never adopted on the coinage. A peculiar ugliness in portraiture, stiffness in anatomy, and tall, thin lettering distinguish the work of this artist."

    Perhaps it was not entirely Paquet's fault that his work was a disappointment to some. Vermeule, whose work was published in 1971, seems to answer Taxay's complaint: "Paquet has been criticized for having been a mediocre engraver, but study of his coins and patterns reveals he never really had an opportunity to unleash his talents on the coinage because Longacre, the Chief Engraver, did all the work himself. Patterns have suggested Paquet's potential. Four medals can be singled out from among the limited number of existing examples that amply confirm his skill."

    The catalogers of the Dallas Bank Collection took a positive stance regarding Paquet: "There can be little doubt, that the decision to pass the task of redesigning the double eagles to Paquet was related to his impressive medallic effort.

    Paquet's First Design for the Double Eagle (San Francisco Mint Version)

    During the 1850s, the United States Mint found that reverse dies for Liberty double eagles suffered much greater attrition than their obverse counterparts, due to excessive cracking during the striking process. In 1851, the Philadelphia Mint produced a total of only 13 new double eagle obverse dies, but 33 reverse dies were required to complete the year's coinage. Similarly, in 1852, a total of 29 reverse dies were manufactured to accompany just 15 obverse dies. In his Guide Book of Double Eagle Gold Coins, Q. David Bowers suggests this situation may have led to Assistant Engraver Anthony C. Paquet's effort to redesign the reverse of the double eagle, beginning in 1859.

    Paquet used the familiar obverse die sunk from the master hub produced by Chief Engraver James B. Longacre in 1859 for his double eagle project. The central motif is a head of Liberty facing to the left, wearing a coronet inscribed LIBERTY, her hair tied in a bun behind her head. Around are 13 six-pointed stars with the date below the bust. The neck truncation contains the incuse initials JBL, for James Barton Longacre. Counting clockwise from the lower left, star 7 is at the 12 o'clock position, pointing to the second bead of the coronet.

    For his reverse, Paquet retained all the basic design elements of Longacre's earlier design, which had been in service since 1850, but his style was cleaner and more elegant. The central reverse motif is a heraldic style eagle with a shield covering its breast. Unlike later types, the sides of the shield are vertical. In Paquet's composition, the shield's border consisted of two individual lines, rather than the single line in Longacre's design. The eagle holds an olive branch in its left claw (to the viewer's right), and three arrows in its right claw. The motif is embellished by scrolls that contain the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM. The scroll work is slightly separated from the eagle's tail in Paquet's design. Above the eagle is an oval constellation of 13 stars, surrounded by a glory of rays. The stars were placed lower than on the Longacre version of the reverse, and arranged in a more elongated oval, to keep them clear of the rays. James Longacre's original drawing for the central design elements of his proposed double eagle reverse can be seen in the collection of the Detroit Institute of the Arts. Paquet's concept of this portion of the design is actually closer to Longacre's drawing than the familiar adopted design.

    Paquet's first (San Francisco) reverse, with the central devices centered in the field


    Along the border from 8:30 to 3:30 is the statutory legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The central design elements are well-centered in the field, with the tips of the eagle's wings pointing to the spaces between T and E in UNITED and E and R in AMERICA. Below the eagle's tail is the denomination, TWENTY D. The most important difference between Paquet's design and the earlier Longacre motif is in the letter font of the reverse legend and denomination. The letters used in Paquet's design are much taller and thinner, with heavier vertical elements including uprights and serifs. The letters were spaced closer together, with bigger gaps between the legend and the denomination. These taller letters took up much more space between the central devices and the rim than the shorter letters in the Longacre design. As a result, the field, or table, of the reverse was wider than the obverse field and the border was much narrower. This difference proved fatal to the design, as it introduced many striking problems that were not easily remedied.

    The Design Process, as Preserved in the Pattern Record

    Much of what we know about these extremely rare coins was summarized in The 1861 Paquet Double Eagles, a masterful article coauthored by Michael J. Hodder, John J. Ford, and P. Scott Rubin for the American Numismatic Association Anthology in 1991. The article outlines a rich pattern history for the Paquet Reverse double eagle, beginning with a white metal die trial of the reverse, which was probably produced in 1859. An example of this die trial is preserved in the collection of the Library Company of Philadelphia today and is listed as Judd-A1859-11 in the standard pattern reference. Some serious corrosion is evident on the lower portion of this piece today, but the design is easily recognized. Another example was once in Abe Kosoff's collection.

    Paquet must have been pleased with the results of this initial effort, as he continued striking patterns of his design in the logical continuation of the design process. The next entry in the pattern history is Judd-260, an 1859-dated copper striking of the complete design. USPatterns.com reports fewer than three examples of Judd-260 exist today and at least one example has been gilt. The gilt example was owned at different times by George Woodside and King Farouk, who also owned the present specimen of the 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagle.

    A final entry in the pattern history of the design was an 1860-dated striking of the design in gold, Judd-272A. A single example of Judd-272A is known to collectors today. This final trial of the hub in its intended coinage metal represents the last step in the process before a design is placed in regular production. The only known specimen of Judd-272A was acquired by the Mint Cabinet on October 11, 1860. Its entry in the Account of Expenditures of the Mint Cabinet reads, "Double Eagle, 1860, new reverse intended for 1861." This statement confirms that Paquet's first design for the double eagle was the one adopted for regular-issue coinage in 1861. The extensive pattern record is exactly what we would expect to find when tracing the evolution of a new design for coinage, from soft, base-metal die trials of the new reverse to fully realized trials of the whole design in its intended coinage metal.

    Striking Paquet's First Design

    In accordance with Mint policy, working dies of the new design were made at Philadelphia and sent to the branch mints for use in the following year's coinage. Four pairs of dies including the new reverse were shipped to the San Francisco Mint on November 7, 1860. At some point in the production process, the problem of the mismatched obverse and reverse borders was noticed, but it was believed that simply adjusting the milling would eliminate most of the problems. This solution was suggested in a note that accompanied the dies sent to San Francisco, which stated:

    "The reverse dies of the double eagle are from a new original die presenting a larger face for the device without changing the diameter of the piece. They will require a slight change in the milling to suit the border."



    A similar note accompanied the three reverse dies sent to the New Orleans Mint on December 10. The final pattern for the design, Judd-272A, was struck on the medal press, with its much higher pressure settings, and showed none of the expected striking problems. Longacre apparently believed any difficulties encountered in regular production on the coin presses would be easily fixed.

    James Ross Snowden, Mint Director 1853-1861.


    Unfortunately for the new design, 1861 was a banner year for double eagle production. The Philadelphia Mint struck more than 2.9 million Liberty twenties that year, the biggest mintage for the denomination before 1904. Even in early January, the orders must have been piling up. January 1 was a holiday for the Mint, so no double eagle coinage could have been attempted before January 2, 1861. Unfortunately, the striking problems caused by the wider field of the reverse die were more extensive than anticipated. No documentary evidence has come to light concerning how many double eagles of the new design were struck at the Philadelphia Mint in early January but, faced with the staggering work load, Mint Director James Ross Snowden was in no mood to spend time tinkering with the milling to correct the problems. On January 5, he suspended coinage with Paquet's reverse at the Philadelphia Mint. The same day, he sent a telegram to the branch mints ordering them to strike no double eagles with Paquet's reverse and simply use leftover reverse dies of Longacre's design to begin the year's coinage. The small number of double eagles struck with the Paquet reverse at the Philadelphia Mint were presumably all melted.


    Snowden's telegram reached the New Orleans Mint before any double eagle coinage took place, but it took much longer for his message to reach Mint officials in San Francisco. The transcontinental telegraph lines were only completed as far west as St. Louis, Missouri, so Longacre's message had to travel overland, including by Pony Express, the rest of the way. The order to abandon coinage with Paquet's reverse did not arrive in San Francisco until February 2, 1861.

    In the meantime, the staff at the San Francisco Mint had been quite busy working on the problem with the milling they had been warned about in the note that accompanied the dies. Striking coins with the mismatched obverse and reverse borders of Paquet's design on the regular coinage press resulted in unacceptable loss of detail on the reverse and subjected the dies to excessive wear and breakage. Adjusting the milling machine was a tricky process and the initial attempts were unsuccessful, resulting in higher, thinner rims on the reverse than on the obverse. Much like the problems the Mint experienced with the High Relief, Wire Rim Saint-Gaudens double eagles half a century later, the resulting coins would not stack properly. Further experimentation with the milling finally achieved acceptable results and the San Francisco Mint began striking double eagles for circulation sometime after January 10. By the time Snowden's message reached San Francisco the Mint had successfully produced 19,250 double eagles with the Paquet reverse. The coins had been released into circulation and there was no practical way to recall them. Superintendent C.H. Hempstead notified Snowden of the situation on February 9:

    "I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 5th last overland which, however, did not come to hand until the 2nd inst. I was therefore unable to prevent the striking and issuing of a large number of double eagles coined with the new dies. The amount so issued was $385,000. At first we experienced considerable difficulty in striking the new coin, mainly for the reason that 20 pieces would pile too high. This, however, was remedied; the diameter of the piece was not greater than heretofore but in order to obviate this difficulty we were compelled to decrease the width of the border on the raised edge of the reverse side. Among the assay coins of last month transmitted by this mail you will find the double eagles as struck by us with the new die. Its general appearance is not unsatisfactory. However, as you have instructed me only to use the older reverse dies, I have done so since the receipt of your letter."



    The small mintage of 1861-S Paquet Reverse double eagles circulated widely in both foreign and domestic trade, suffering much wear and attrition over the years. None were saved by contemporary collectors, and no Mint State examples have ever been certified. Hence the present coin is not only the finest known 1861 Philadelphia Paquet by a full 6 points, it is the finest of any 1861 Paquet double eagle known by that same differential. To assess the premium for condition in the current market, consider that in July, 2013 the finest 1861 double eagle of normal design in PCGS MS67 CAC, sold at a Stack's Bowers auction for $352,500 as compared with the most recent sale of a PCGS MS61 ($3120, March, 2020, also at Stack's Bowers). For further reference, the MS61 example of the Paquet Reverse double eagle realized $1,610,000 at a Heritage auction in 2006. Considering the vast difference in quality between that coin and the present MS67 example, we expect a record price when this coin passes the auction block.

    The general public paid little attention to the reverse of the coin and the design differences went unnoticed when one turned up in daily commerce. Despite a brief mention in the American Journal of Numismatics in 1895, the 1861-S Paquet Reverse double eagle was completely forgotten shortly after it was issued. The numismatic community was shocked, therefore, when a worn example was eventually discovered in a barn in Hull, Texas in 1937. A few more examples were discovered, once collectors knew to look for them, but the issue remained extremely rare throughout the 1940s. A small number of coins were eventually repatriated from European holdings in recent times. Today, the surviving population probably numbers 150-200 examples, all in circulated grades. Since the Philadelphia mintage was destroyed, these scarce coins are the only surviving representatives of Anthony C. Paquet's first design for the double eagle. They are avidly collected as an essential part of the Liberty double eagle series.

    Paquet's Second Design for the Double Eagle
    (Philadelphia Mint Version)
    The obverse die for Paquet's second design for the double eagle was sunk from the same hub used to create his first design, so the only difference between the two is the placement of the date. The date is positioned higher in the field on the second design, with the J in JBL nearly centered over the 8.

    Paquet's second (Philadelphia) design, with the central devices higher in the field.


    The reverse die was struck from a completely different hub than the first design, although all the same punches were used to impress the letters and devices. Crucially, the central design elements were slightly rotated and placed higher in the field on the second design. The eagle's wingtips point to the upright of the E in UNITED and the bottom serif of the E in AMERICA on the second design. The highest rays of the glory point to the upright of the E and the space between E and S in STATES. The letters in the denomination are more widely spaced than on the first design and the oval of stars is placed higher, merging slightly with the glory of rays.

    Mint records are silent about the development of Paquet's second design for the double eagle and, unlike his first design, there is no meaningful pattern history for the issue. An 1860-dated copper pattern of the design (Judd-273) exists, but modern research indicates this issue is actually a back-dated fantasy piece. The dies were heavily polished before Judd-273 was struck, so that the base of the E in TWENTY is partially effaced and the bottom left serif of the Y is missing. Struck from this later state of the die, Judd-273 was clearly produced after the 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagle.

    Origin Theories for the 1861 Paquet Reverse Double Eagle

    With no documentary evidence and no pattern record to rely on, we have only the physical evidence of the coins and our knowledge of Mint procedures to help us understand the true nature of the 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagle. Several theories have been proposed in the past, with opinions changing over time as new information about the coins became available. We will explore the most important theories here.

    During the 19th century, the 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagle was widely believed to be a pattern issue. It was specifically listed in the pattern section of Woodward's Sixth Semi-Annual Sale when it made its first auction appearance in March of 1865. This initial appearance, coming so soon after the coin was struck, when memories of those involved in the striking were still fresh, carried a lot of weight with contemporary numismatists. The two known 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagles were featured in seven public auctions during the 19th century and catalogers specifically listed them as patterns in five of those appearances. Robert Coulton Davis listed the Paquet Reverse double eagle as number 154 in his seminal work on patterns, which was published in The Coin Collector's Journal in 1885, and Edgar Adams and William Woodin also listed the coins as patterns in their standard reference in 1913 (see AW-334).

    Attributing the coins as patterns made sense during this time period. Their high technical quality strongly suggested they were specially struck and their extreme rarity made a pattern origin very credible. Views began to change, however, when the San Francisco Mint coins of Paquet's first design began to surface in the late 1930s. These coins were clearly business strikes that were widely used in circulation. Examples of both designs were so rare that there were few opportunities to compare and contrast the issues, so the differences between the two designs went unnoticed. Numismatists naturally assumed the coins had a common origin and, if the San Francisco Mint coins were circulation strikes, the Philadelphia pieces must be too. Edward Cogan was probably the biggest coin dealer in the country in 1861 and he was living in Philadelphia at the time. It seems likely that he heard reports of the destruction of the Philadelphia mintage in 1861 and remembered those events when he cataloged the Dallas Bank specimen of the Paquet Reverse double eagle in its first auction appearance in lot 1314 of the Mendes I. Cohen Collection, 14 years Later:

    "1861 Twenty dollar gold piece. The Reverse of this piece, although similar in design to that of the regular issue, is larger in every respect and was withdrawn in consequence of the extreme narrow milling, which would cause much loss by abrasion, and all but two were remelted - this one and one in the possession of Mr. W.J. Jenks of Philadelphia. Extremely rare."


    Although he listed the Paquet Reverse double eagle in the pattern section of the catalog, numismatists of the mid-20th century remembered Cogan's story about the aborted mintage and interpreted the account as a business-strike origin for the Philadelphia issue. For most of the 1940-1991 time frame, the two 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagles were believed to be the remnants of a business-strike mintage that was recalled and almost totally destroyed.

    Things changed again after 1988, when Michael Hodder noticed the design differences between the Philadelphia and San Francisco Mint Paquet Reverse double eagles while cataloging the coin offered here in its prior appearance in the sale of the Norweb Collection. The implications of this discovery were not immediately clear, but Hodder began researching the Paquet Reverse double eagle extensively, in concert with his mentor, John J. Ford, and numismatic scholar P. Scott Rubin. By 1991, the team of Hodder, Ford, and Rubin were ready to publish their findings in the American Numismatic Association Anthology. Their remarkable paper, The 1861 Paquet Double Eagles, remains one of the most authoritative works on the subject today.

    Hodder, Ford, and Rubin rejected the idea that the Philadelphia Mint would produce dies for the branch mints from a different hub than the one used for the Philadelphia dies. From this, they concluded that any business-strike double eagles struck in Philadelphia in early January 1861 would have the same reverse design as the San Francisco issue. Since the two surviving Philadelphia coins were clearly struck from different dies, the coauthors concluded that they could not have been part of that production. Clearly, the origin of the 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagle required a different explanation.

    Similarly, the pattern origin theory was considered and discarded. The present coin exhibits none of the anticipated striking problems for this design. In fact, the strike is exemplary, and there are numerous die polishing lines in the fields. These attributes convinced Hodder, Ford and Rubin that the 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagles must have been specially struck on the medal press. However, the confused and meager pattern history for the second (Philadelphia Mint) design concerned them. At the time, it was thought that the 1860-dated copper piece of this design, Judd-273, was a real pattern, rather than a back-dated fantasy item. Hodder, Ford, and Rubin believed the design had been tried and rejected with this pattern in 1860, in favor of the design used on the San Francisco issue. No 1861-dated trials in gold should have been required, making the pattern theory untenable.

    Having eliminated both the pattern and regular-issue theories of the origin for the 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagle, Hodder, Ford, and Rubin concluded the coins must have been fantasy pieces, possibly struck at a later date by a disappointed Paquet, or some other Mint insider.

    New Thoughts on the True Nature of the 1861 Paquet Reverse Double Eagle

    When the fantasy status of Judd-273 was established, researchers began to reconsider the true nature of the 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagle. If Judd-273 had been a true 1860-dated pattern, then there would have been a working die on hand at the Mint in 1861 to use in striking fantasy pieces. Since Judd-273 was actually struck sometime after the Paquet Reverse double eagles, the numismatic delicacy theory became much less likely. It would have been no small undertaking to strike the Paquet Reverse double eagles as numismatic delicacies from scratch. It would require producing a whole new reverse hub for the issue, in addition to a new set of dies (many fantasy pieces were struck from old dies that were just removed from storage, a much simpler process.) It would have required access to planchets, which were secured in the Coiner's vault, and the medal press, which was chained shut at night in the medal department. While a clandestine striking of a few coins might have been possible for someone in Paquet's position, it would be difficult to accomplish without attracting some notice, and the reward for so much work would scarcely be worth the trouble.

    In a July 2006 telephone conversation with Mark Borckardt, P. Scott Rubin walked back the conclusion that the coins were numismatic delicacies. Rubin speculated that Paquet might have refined his design after the dies were sent to the branch mints in November and December of 1860, and produced a new hub to make the dies for the Philadelphia issue. Then, he theorized, the dies from the new hub caused striking problems when coinage began in January and all but two examples of the Philadelphia mintage were destroyed, as first suggested by Edward Cogan in 1875.

    We believe Rubin was correct about Paquet continuing to refine his design in the last months of 1860, but we believe he had a different purpose in mind. When looking at the reverse of an 1861-S Paquet Reverse double eagle, one of the first things that strikes the observer is how crowded the mintmark is. In the same way that the taller peripheral letters restricted the space normally reserved for the dentils on the rim, they also left minimal room for the mintmark between the denomination and the eagle's tail. The top serif of the S actually touches the lowest tailfeather and the base barely floats above the space between N and T in TWENTY, resulting in a cluttered, unattractive appearance. The mintmark is the last element to be added to the reverse die, so it is possible this problem was only noticed when the dies were being prepared for shipment to San Francisco on November 7. Our theory is that Paquet continued working on his design in the last months of 1860 to correct this problem, rotating and moving the central design elements higher in the field to create more space for the mintmark.


    First (San Francisco) design, with the crowded mintmark. Second (Philadelphia) design, with more space for the mintmark.


    Almost all observers agree the 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagles were specially struck on the medal press because they display none of the striking problems experienced when the San Francisco Mint tried to strike coins with the mismatched obverse and reverse borders, before adjusting the milling to compensate. Although it does not have the deeply mirrored fields seen on proof specimens, many die polishing lines are evident on the surfaces of the present coin, suggesting it may have been specially produced to illustrate the design for important Mint or Treasury officials. We suggest the 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagle constitutes a prospective design for double eagle coinage in 1862, addressing the problem of the crowded mintmark. This is in line with the pattern origin story bestowed on the coins in their first appearances. Paquet probably believed the basic design had been tested enough during the pattern progression for the first design and did not bother to produce any base-metal patterns for this final effort. Unfortunately, it seems likely that Snowden abandoned the design in early January, before Paquet could pursue it any further. Without documentary evidence, this conclusion is somewhat speculative, but it fits the facts as we know them as well as any other origin theory we are aware of. Of course, many collectors will still regard the Paquet Reverse double eagle as a necessary component of the Liberty double eagle series, and we support their efforts to include an example in their collections and Registry Sets.

    History of the Present Coin

    This delightful Superb Gem from the Oliver Jung Collection was the discovery coin for the issue. It first appeared in lot 2818 of the Sixth Semi-Annual Sale (W. Elliot Woodward, 3/1865), in the pattern section of the catalog. The Sixth Semi-Annual Sale was one of the most important public auction sales of the 1860s and it featured important consignments from a number of prominent collectors. Unfortunately, we have not been able to determine which of these early numismatists consigned the 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagle. The lot description reads:

    "1861 Twenty Dollar Piece. This piece differs from the ordinary variety in the arrangement of the stars over the head of the eagle, and is said to be unique; perfectly uncirculated."


    Surprisingly, the cataloger focused on the different arrangement of the reverse stars as the diagnostic feature of the Paquet reverse, rather than the more noticeable and important larger font used for the reverse lettering. The lot realized $37, to a mysterious collector named "French", according to a priced and named copy of the auction catalog. This was a substantial price at the time, when the coin was only four years old. Research by Heritage cataloger David Stone suggests "French" was actually Philadelphia collector William J. Jenks, who sold a number of collections through various dealers in the 1860s and '70s (see "The Mysterious Mr. French, Revealed at Last," The Asylum, July-September 2009, pp. 103-109). Jenks sold the 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagle to George F. Seavey, one of the most important collectors of the time, who lived in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts.

    Seavey exhibited his American gold collection, which was considered unique at the time, when branch mint issues were considered interchangeable with Philadelphia Mint examples, at a meeting of the Boston Numismatic Society on February 4, 1869. The exhibit was reported in the March 1869 edition of the American Journal of Numismatics, where the 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagle was listed in the pattern section and described as, "1861 Double Eagle, trial of new die, abandoned." Seavey retained this coin until 1873, when he sold his entire collection to millionaire Boston collector Lorin G. Parmelee. Seavey initially intended to sell his collection at auction, through dealer William Strobridge, but Parmelee made an offer for the whole collection that was too good to pass up before the sale took place. Strobridge had prepared a catalog for the prospective auction, which he published as an important reference for numismatists in June of 1873. The Paquet Reverse double eagle was described with the other 1861-dated coins as "Double Eagle. From a rejected die. Only two struck, and die destroyed. Gold."

    Lorin G. Parmelee


    Lorin G. Parmelee formed perhaps the finest collection of American coins that was sold in the 19th century. He sold his remarkable collection through the New York Coin & Stamp Company, run by veteran coin dealers H.P. Smith and David Proskey, in June of 1890. Unfortunately, the auction took place during a down turn in the coin market and prices realized were disappointing. T. Harrison Garrett and Robert Coulton Davis, two of the most important collectors of the era, had recently died and the new generation of collectors who would take their place, like William Woodin, Virgil Brand, and Waldo Newcomer, were just beginning to collect seriously. With Parmelee himself out of the running, the lack of high-level competition was reflected in the prices realized. The layout of the catalog was similar to Strobridge's Seavey Descriptive Catalog, with all the coins from each date described in a separate section, rather than organizing the issues by denomination. The Paquet Reverse double eagle was described in lot 1317:

    "Double Eagle; obv., same die as last. R. Same type as last, but larger design and taller thin letters in legend: Paquet's designs: only two struck; very rare."



    The lot realized $44, to pattern specialist George Woodside. Woodside held the coin for only two years, before selling his numismatic holdings through the familiar New York Coin & Stamp firm in April of 1892. Woodside's collection contained 404 lots of pattern coins, making it the most important pattern offering of the 19th century. The Paquet Reverse double eagle was offered in lot 115 and described as:

    "1861 Double Eagle: regular obv. R. same as that on lot 91: larger design than on regular issue: only two known: gold: uncirc."



    Lot 91 referred to in the catalog was the 1859-dated gilt specimen of Judd-260, the copper pattern for Paquet's first design, which was used on the 1861-S Paquet Reverse double eagle. Apparently, the cataloger missed the subtle differences between the Philadelphia and San Francisco Mint versions of the design.

    The coin was purchased by M.A. Brown, a collector from East Northfield, Massachusetts. Brown was an early copper specialist, but he also had a substantial collection of patterns, including examples of the 1879 and 1880 Flowing Hair stellas. Brown sold his collection through the Chapman brothers in April of 1897. The 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagle was described in lot 53 of the catalog as:

    "1861 $20. Obverse as the regular issue. R. Type of the regular issue but the letters taller and slimmer, device wider and more open. Uncirculated. Mint lustre. Gold. Excessively rare."



    The lot realized $52.50, to super collector Virgil Brand, who retained the coin until his death in 1926.

    After the M.A. Brown auction, there was a marked change in the frequency of public offerings of the 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagle. The present coin spent most of the first half of the 20th century in the fabulous collection of Virgil Brand, or his estate, after his death. The second example of the 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagle appeared in two public auctions in the 19th century and then vanished, only reappearing in Europe after a hiatus of 88 years, in 1965. As a result, neither of the known specimens appeared at auction for a period of 57 years after the M.A. Brown sale. From that time until the present day, the coins have been held in strong hands, in long-term collections, and public offerings have been infrequent.

    The present coin saw a flurry of dealer activity in the 1940s before being acquired by the eccentric King Farouk, the playboy King of Egypt. Farouk's spectacular collection was auctioned by Sotheby's in February of 1954, after he was deposed for his irresponsible behavior as monarch. This coin was featured in lot 289 of the catalog and was described as:

    "Pattern twenty dollars 1861, with the Paquet reverse, edge milled (A.W.334). In extremely fine state, believed to be the second known specimen, and is from the Parmelee collection."



    The lot was purchased by David Spink, who was acting as agent for New Netherlands Coin Company. In turn, New Netherlands purchased the coin for their favorite customers, Ambassador and Mrs. R. Henry Norweb, who actually attended the Farouk sale in Egypt, but preferred not to buy this coin at the auction.

    Ambassador and Mrs. R. Henry Norweb



    The Norwebs formed one of the most valuable and extensive numismatic gatherings of all time. Mrs. Emery May Holden Norweb had become deeply involved in numismatics as a young girl, when she helped her father, Albert Fairchild Holden, improve and organize the family coin collection he inherited from his father, Liberty Holden. Albert Holden was a shrewd collector, with excellent financial resources, who amassed a significant coin collection before his untimely death from cancer in 1913. Emery May inherited the collection and joined the American Numismatic Association in 1914, but her collecting activity slowed for some years, as she was busy with family concerns and extensive foreign travel. She met R. Henry Norweb, a career foreign service officer, while serving as a nurse in World War I in France. They were married in Paris in 1917. After an eventful 30 year career in foreign service, the Norwebs retired to their family estate in Cleveland Ohio. In later years, they avidly pursued their numismatic interests and formed one of the world's greatest coin collections. They died just five months apart in 1983 and 1984, with their collection still intact. The Norweb Collection was sold in a series of blockbuster auctions by Bowers and Merena in the late 1980s. When the Paquet Reverse double eagle was sold in lot 3984 of the Norweb Collection, Part III (Bowers and Merena, 11/1988), it realized a staggering $660,000, the third-highest price paid for any U.S. coin up to that time. This coin has not been publicly offered since. It was exhibited at the Florida United Numismatists convention in January 2017, where it was insured for $8 million. It was later exhibited at the 2018 ANA World's Fair of Money. It was later acquired privately by Oliver Jung, via John Albanese.

    Physical Description

    The present coin is the finer-known example of this landmark numismatic treasure by a full six grade points. It is also the finest of the Paquet design (arguably a separate type coin) by those same six grade points.
    This magnificent Superb Gem exhibits razor-sharp definition on all design elements. All the star centers are fully struck and fine definition is evident on the strands of Liberty's hair and the eagle's feathers. Both sides display full dentilation. The base of the first 1 in the date shows evidence of repunching. Some tiny die lumps are evident in the angles of stars 9 and 10. The virtually flawless orange-gold surfaces radiate strong satiny mint luster from both sides and numerous die polishing lines are evident in the fields. A tiny amber alloy spot shows on the obverse rim, near star 4. The outstanding quality and eye appeal of this piece are attested by the CAC sticker.

    This coin has been a highlight of some of the most prestigious numismatic collections of all time, but it has only been offered sparingly in recent years. Despite its illustrious pedigree, it has appeared at auction only twice since the 19th century, the last time in the famous Norweb Collection, 33 years ago. David Hall recently called this coin "one of the great United States gold coin rarities, and one of the best coins PCGS has ever graded." This lot represents a once in a lifetime opportunity for the advanced collector to obtain the ultimate specimen of this fabulous rarity, which should appeal strongly to collectors of all disciplines. This coin is not likely to become available again in the collecting life of anyone reading this lot description. The discerning collector will bid accordingly. The 1861 Paquet Reverse double eagle is listed among the 100 Greatest U.S. Coins. This coin is pictured on PCGS CoinFacts. Population: 1 in 67, 0 finer (6/21).

    Roster of 1861 Paquet Reverse Double Eagles (Second Design)





    1.
    MS67 PCGS. CAC. Sixth Semi-Annual Sale (W. Elliot Woodward, 3/1865), lot 2818; purchased by William J. Jenks, bidding as "French", for $37; sold privately to George F. Seavey, circa 1868; exhibited by Seavey at the meeting of the Boston Numismatic Society on February; listed in the Seavey Descriptive Catalog (William H. Strobridge, 6/1873), lot 981, but Boston collector Lorin G. Parmelee purchased Seavey's entire collection before the auction was held; Lorin G. Parmelee Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 6/1890), lot 1317, realized $44; George D. Woodside Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 4/1892), lot 115, realized $37.50; M.A. Brown Collection (S.H. and H. Chapman, 4/1897), lot 53, realized $52.50; Virgil Brand (Brand Journal number 17021); Brand Estate; Armin Brand, in 1932, sold privately in 12/1936 for $500; Burdette G. Johnson, who offered the coin to F.C.C. Boyd on 9/17/1940 at $500, then to Stack's on 7/8/1941 at $500, then to B. Max Mehl on 8/8/1943 at $1,000, and to Boyd again on 10/15/1943 for $650; sold privately to Abe Kosoff in 1943 for $1,250; Abe Kosoff, Hans Schulman, and Robert Friedberg, sold privately for $3,250 to King Farouk of Egypt; Palace Collections of Egypt (Sotheby's, 2/1954), lot 289, realized $1,170.30 to David Spink, acting as an agent for the following: New Netherlands Coin Company; purchased by Ambassador and Mrs. R. Henry Norweb in 1954 for $5,000; Norweb Collection, Part III (Bowers and Merena, 11/1988), lot 3984, realized $660,000; Manfra, Tordella & Brookes; MTB to Warren Trepp (brokered by Spectrum); John Albanese bought from Spectrum in 2003 and sold to Brian Hendelson for a reported $2 million; brokered by John Albanese and Joe O'Connor to Oliver Jung; the present coin.
    Plate coin in Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth's Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins and 100 Greatest U.S. Coins.




    2.
    MS61 PCGS. Colonel Mendes I. Cohen Collection (Edward Cogan, 10/1875), lot 1314, realized $26; George W. Cram Collection (William H. Strobridge, 3/1877), lot 597, realized $22.25; unknown intermediaries; Paul Wittlin rediscovered this coin in Paris, circa 1965; purchased by Paramount International Coin Corporation for $7,500; sold privately for $12,500 to RARCOA (Ben Dreiske); Abe Kosoff; North Carolina Collector; Mike Brownlee and Abe Kosoff; H. Jeff Browning purchased this coin on March 22, 1976, reportedly for more than $250,000; Dallas Bank Collection (Sotheby's/Stack's, 10/2001), lot 30, realized $345,000; Wyoming Collection; Denver ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/2006), lot 5623, realized $1,610,000; Monaco Rare Coins; sold to a private collector for $1,771,000; sold to an Orange County California collector via Monaco Rare Coins in 2008 for a reported $2.5 million; Charles C. Wright Family Collection; Chicago ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/2014), lot 5702, realized $1,645,000; Doug Winter Numismatics.
    Plate coin In David Akers' United States Gold Coin/An Analysis of Auction Records, Volume VI, Double Eagles, and Q. David Bowers' Guide Book of Double Eagle Gold Coins.

    References


    Bowers, Q. David. The Norweb Collection, Part III. Wolfeboro: Bowers and Merena Galleries, November 14-15, 1988.

    Bowers, Q. David. A Guide Book of Double Eagle Gold Coins, A Complete History and Price Guide. Atlanta: Whitman Publishing, L.L.C., 2004.

    Breen, Walter. "The Question Forum." Numisma, Vol. 1, No. 1. New York: New Netherlands Coin Co., Inc., June 1954.

    Garrett, Jeff and Ron Guth. 100 Greatest U.S. Coins. Atlanta: H.E. Harris & Co., 2003.

    Heritage Auctions. ANA Signature Auction. Chicago, August 7, 2014.

    Hodder, Michael J., John J. Ford, Jr., P. Scott Rubin. "The 1861 Paquet Double Eagles." The American Numismatic Association Anthology. Colorado Springs, CO: The American Numismatic Association, 1991, pp. 99-126.

    Judd, J. Hewitt, Q. David Bowers, Saul Teichman, United States Pattern Coins, 10th Edition: Whitman Publishing, Atlanta, Georgia, 2009.

    Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in Saint Louis, various citations.

    Pollock, Andrew W., III. United States Patterns and Related Issues. Wolfeboro, NH: Bowers and Merena Galleries, 1994.

    Smith, Pete. American Numismatic Biographies. Rocky River, OH: Gold Leaf Press, 1992.

    Sotheby's and Stack's. The "Dallas Bank" Collection. New York, October 29-30, 2001.

    Stone, David. "The Mysterious Mr. French, Revealed at Last," The Asylum, July-September 2009, pp. 103-109.

    Taxay, Donald. The U.S. Mint and Coinage. New York: Arco Publishing, 1967.

    Teichman, Saul and Andrew Lustig, USPatterns.com.

    Vermeule, Cornelius. Numismatic Art in America. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971.
    A Selection From The Oliver Jung Collection. (Registry values: P10)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 269H, PCGS# 8933)

    Weight: 33.44 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper


    View all of [A Selection From The Oliver Jung Collection ]

    View Certification Details from PCGS

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