1861 $20 Paquet Reverse MS (PCGS# 8933)

Denver Platinum Night

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    Heritage Auctions
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Lot Description
1861 $20 Paquet MS61 PCGS. Only three regular issue U.S. coins are unique. The 1870-S half dime, the 1873-CC No Arrows dime, and the 1870-S three dollar gold piece are each known by a single example. Next in line is the 1861 Paquet double eagle from the Philadelphia Mint. Once considered a pattern, this coin is clearly a regular issue double eagle. Some might consider the 1866 No Motto quarter and half dollar to be regular issue coins as well, although others consider these coins to be patterns. Others might point to individual die varieties of early U.S. coins that are unique, but among regular dates within the U.S. coinage series, just three issues are unique, and the 1861 Paquet twenty is next. This important rarity is absolutely necessary for a complete set of Liberty double eagles. Just two examples are known. One of these is a Superb Gem and the other is lightly flawed, but both pieces represent one of the most important issues in the entire scope of U.S. numismatic history. Although a third example of the 1861 Paquet double eagle has been rumored, only two have been positively identified during the 145 years since they were struck. The obverse is identical to the design created by James Longacre for the Liberty Head double eagle, which was introduced to regular issue coinage in 1850. In fact, the obverse die is from the same coinage hub that was introduced in 1859, a slight modification of the original hub. Anthony C. Paquet prepared a modified reverse design in 1860. The Paquet reverse is essentially a copy of the Longacre design, made from new letter punches that provide a taller and more compact appearance, leaving more space between words. The rays are closer to the lettering, providing more room for the oval of stars. The actual die field is slightly larger in diameter, with a narrower rim, and this was the downfall of Paquet's design. Further die differences will be discussed below, along with some fascinating comparisons between the various issues. In
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