1861 Paquet Reverse Liberty Double Eagle

The 1861 “Paquet Reverse” Liberty Double Eagle is an extreme rarity of the series that came about when Mint engraver Anthony Paquet modified the reverse design for the denomination. The most apparent change was to the reverse inscriptions, which used taller and more slender letters. Some additional technical modifications to the lettering were also performed.

After an unknown number of double eagles carrying the modified reverse design were struck at the Philadelphia Mint, Director Snowden recalled the design and ordered the coins melted. Two examples managed to survive, both in uncirculated condition. One of the coins, graded PCGS MS61, realized $1.61 million at auction in August 2006.

The “Paquet Reverse” was also used for some coins struck at the San Francisco Mint the same year. A total of 19,250 pieces were produced and released into circulation before the order to cease production could reach the mint. Of the 1861-S Paquet Reverse Double Eagles released, approximately 100 are estimated to have survived with all known examples in circulated grades. One of the finest known examples graded AU58 by NGC sold for $161,000 at auction in February 2009.