History, Information, and Value of 1861 Gold Liberty Double Eagle
Value of 1861 Paquet $20 Double Eagle
Circulation strikes of the 1861 Philadelphia Mint Paquet Reverse double eagle were produced in an unknown quantity on or by January 5, 1861, until the use of the revised reverse die was halted. The fate of the struck pieces is unknown. Just two examples of the 1861 Paquet $20 Double Eagle have been discovered and, surprisingly, both of those have survived in Mint State condition. The finest of these is the Brand-Farouk-Norweb coin that is estimated to grade MS-67, followed by the Dallas Bank example graded MS-61 by PCGS.
Type 1A: Modified Reverse, the 1861 Paquet Reverse Double Eagles
From 1850 onward Philadelphia and branch mints had problems with the excessive cracking of double eagle reverse dies and produced many extra dies to address this issue. For instance, 13 new obverse dies were made and 33 reverse dies were made for coinage at the Philadelphia Mint in 1851. The next year nearly twice as many reverse dies were made than obverse dies. The task of revising the reverse design was undertaken by Anthony C. Paquet starting with pattern coins in 1859.
His design used for regular coinage in 1861 featured the reverse border inscription, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA above and TWENTY D. below. The letters were arranged more compactly providing for a generous space between the two groups of words. Coinage of double eagles with the new Paquet design commenced at the Philadelphia Mint in January 1861.However, due to a problem with the die, production was halted by Mint Director James Ross Snowden, who dispatched a note to the San Francisco Mint to stop production with the new die as well. Only two Philadelphia Mint coins exist today. By the time the San Francisco Mint received his note, a number of double eagles had already been struck and issued.