Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 47

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Lot 4472

1861-S $20 Liberty. Pacquet reverse. PCGS graded AU-53 PQ. CAC Approved. In PCGS holder 10963669. A very rare coin and missing in most collections. Lightly toned. One of the classic rarities of the series, this beautiful About Uncirculated 53 coin will be long remembered by specialists. Smooth, even wear, it has far fewer abrasions than usually encountered for the grade. The fields retain luster, and the strike is complete and balanced. Free of annoying rim marks, too, or other circulation-related problems, this coin will no doubt enthuse the experienced numismatist who appreciates such quality in the early double eagles.

The internal politics within the Philadelphia Mint continued unabated when 1861 rolled around. Mint Director Snowden and others seemed to dislike Chief Engraver Longacre, and actively worked to undermine his authority. One such attempt was this new reverse die engraved by Anthony C. Paquet, the reverse letters were taller and more narrow than on the Longacre design. The new design was briefly accepted, but when a few were coined it was realized that there was insufficient room for the border, thus the design elements would wear quickly, and the Philadelphia Mint stopped production. Mint Director Snowden cabled the San Francisco Mint and asked them to use the old leftover dies rather than the new Paquet reverse, but 19,250 had already been coined. These Paquet reverse double eagles were released into circulation, along with the regular dies coins. In 1937 A. J. Fecht finally noticed the reverse die, and called it a pattern in The Numismatist 3/37 page 199. It wasn't until 1951 that the archives were examined and the story behind this reverse die came to light. Most of the survivors came from Europe and are heavily bagmarked.

The Paquet pieces are generally referred to as having "taller letters," than the coins struck from Longacre-produced dies. There were more changes than this made by Paquet, with the letter size being relatively minor. The scrolls and eagle are larger, and placed closer to the denomination; the eagle's head has been remodeled, while the ring of stars is widened with the rays removed from within it. In the process of enlarging the shield, Paquet seems to have made an error: he put 17 horizontal lines, thus creating a 16-stripe shield instead of the official United States 13-strike one. Pop 10; 7 finer, 5 in 55, and 2 in 58 (PCGS # 8936) .
Estimated Value $75,000 - 85,000.
Ohringer Family Trust Holdings.

Realized $96,025

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