Graded PCGS Secure AU-58, this 1861-S Coronet, Paquet Reverse gold $20 double eagle sold in the Stack’s Bowers Galleries June 27 sale in Baltimore for $188,000.
Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ June 27 sale in Baltimore of nearly 1,300 lots of U.S. coins from Colonials through gold $20 double eagles, plus medals and tokens, brought total prices realized of $4,334,996.
The prices realized for the two floor sessions held in conjunction with the Whitman Baltimore Coin and Collectibles Expo include the 17.5 buyer’s fee added to the final closing hammer price of each lot won.
Among the featured highlights were an 1861-S Coronet, Paquet Reverse gold $20 double eagle, Professional Coin Grading Service Secure AU-58, $188,000; an (1800) George Washington Funeral medal in gold in About Uncirculated condition that sold for $15,275; and a PCGS Mint State 60 1854 Kellogg & Co. pioneer gold $20 coin that sold for $29,375.
The Paquet Reverse double eagle is so-named as the work of U.S. Mint Assistant Engraver Anthony Paquet.
In his work, Paquet was known to have a penchant for a particular font style. The style was characterized by tall, thick verticals and diagonals on the letters, with thin horizontals and serifs.
Paquet adopted this font for use on his 1860 patterns. The font style was subsequently approved in late 1860 for use on the regular issue Coronet double eagles.
After the Philadelphia Mint produced examples, U.S. Mint Director James Ross Snowden quickly determined the Paquet Reverse unsuitable for high-speed production and ordered the entire Philadelphia Mint emission melted.
Only two examples from the Philadelphia Mint are known to remain, although a third is rumored to exist.
Dies with the Paquet design were delivered to the Branch Mints in New Orleans and San Francisco before the decision to stop production was made.
The New Orleans Mint did not strike any 1861-O Coronet, Paquet double eagles, having received a telegraph message to halt production before it began.
Because no transcontinental telegraph wires extended to San Francisco from the East, by the time Snowden’s edict reached the West Coast facility, it had already struck 19,250 of the coins, all of which are reported to have entered circulation. Today, approximately 100 examples of the 1861-S Coronet, Paquet Reverse double eagle are extant, with no examples certified in Mint State.