The World Record Setting $1.65 Million Dollar 1861 Paquet $20.00
COIN DEALER SETS RECORD WITH $1.65 MILLION DOLLAR PURCHASE
Douglas Winter Numismatics, a rare coin dealership located in Portland Oregon, set a world-record price for a Liberty Head double eagle with their recent purchase of one of only two known 1861 Philadelphia Paquet reverse double eagles for $1,645,000. The coin was bought out of an auction held in Rosemont, Illinois, and Winter immediately resold the coin for a profit to a specialist collector.
What makes this coin so special, according to numismatists, is its unique reverse design which was the work of Assistant Mint Engraver Anthony Paquet. Paquet joined the U.S. Mint staff in 1857 but was only given a few assignments, including the redesign of the reverse (back side) of the “double eagle” or twenty dollar gold piece. The design was rejected by Mint officials for artistic reasons.
An unknown but extremely small number of 1861 double eagles—or twenty dollar gold pieces—were struck in Philadelphia with this special reverse, and today only two are known. According to Winter, “The iconic Paquet reverse double eagle from Philadelphia is ranked as the fourth rarest regular issue United States gold coin, and it is by far the rarest issue in the popular double eagle. It is rarer even than the legendary 1933 twenty dollar gold piece, an example of which sold at auction for $7.59 million in July 2002.” The $1,645,000 paid by Winter is a record price for any double eagle with the Liberty Head design (struck 1850-1907), or for any gold coin regardless of denomination produced between 1838 and 1906.
The history of this 1861 Paquet Reverse $20, graded MS61 by PCGS, is fascinating. The coin was discovered before 1875 and was first sold at an auction for $26. It later disappeared (and was likely spent and then was included in an overseas bullion shipment to Europe) and was rediscovered in Paris by an American coin dealer. In its last auction appearance, in 2006, the same coin realized $1,610,000.
Douglas Winter Numismatics specializes in choice and rare United States gold coinage produced between 1795 and 1933. The firm is the largest and most active rare coin dealer in the Pacific Northwest, and has been active in the numismatic industry since 1985.