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    Description

    1861-S Paquet Twenty, AU50
    A High-Grade Example of This Rare Design Variant

    1861-S $20 Paquet AU50 NGC. Despite the common misconception, Anthony C. Paquet was born in 1814 not in France but in Germany--specifically, Hamburg--of French ancestry. His father, reportedly Toussaint Fran├žois Paquet, was a bronze worker. "Anthony" could equally likely have been named with the German form "Anton" or the French "Antoine," anglicizing his name upon coming to America in October 1848. Mint Chief Engraver James B. Longacre was some 20 years Paquet's senior, born in 1794 and having been hired at the Mint in 1844 after the death of Christian Gobrecht. Although evidence is sketchy, it appears that Longacre may have prevented Paquet from showing his true potential at the Philadelphia Mint.
    Paquet worked as an engraver and/or die-maker in Philadelphia from 1850 through 1855 and in New York City in 1856-57. He was hired as an assistant Mint engraver in October 1857, moving back to Philadelphia where he lived at 402 Blight Street, according to an 1860 city directory. He worked for the Mint as assistant engraver until 1864, afterward completing occasional Mint assignments on a contract basis.
    Paquet furnished letter punches for pattern coinage, possibly the same punches that were used on the 1857 Flying Eagle cents. Paquet's lettering was extremely tall with thin vertical strokes, producing an unusual effect. Andrew W. Pollock III in United States Patterns and Related Issues illustrates (Pollock-3131; Judd-A-1857-1) an interesting uniface experimental piece showing the varying diameters of the dime, quarter, and half dollar with the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA inscribed within each. Pollock notes that "the lettering is similar to that featured on many pattern coins attributed to Anthony Paquet."
    The Paquet Reverse double eagles of 1861 are among the few U.S. circulating coinage designs that can be definitively attributed to Paquet. The memorable Paquet design lacked a broad rim, making the coins prone to extensive abrasion, and the design was recalled soon after its inception. All but two of the Philadelphia Mint pieces struck were melted, but the San Francisco Mint struck some 19,250 pieces before news of the recall reached that distant facility. The variety was promptly forgotten until 1937 when it was announced in Numismatic News. Today most certified examples are in the XF-AU range with a few dozen pieces each certified at NGC and PCGS, making it the rarest S-mint Type One double eagle.
    This is one of the few high grade examples that have surfaced over the past 70 years. The surfaces are bright yellow-gold and noticeable traces of mint luster surround the peripheral devices. Each side is remarkably free from the distractions that normally plague these coins. The reason for the frequently seen abrasions is attributed to Paquet's lowered rim, a design feature that allegedly gave the interior design features less protections from contact with other coins. The design motifs are sharply defined throughout. This is a rarely offered opportunity for the astute collector of 19th gold. Census: 16 in 50, 29 finer (3/10).(Registry values: N7079)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 269L, PCGS# 8936)

    Weight: 33.44 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper


    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    Apr-May, 2010
    28th-2nd Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 7,148

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