A colorful $10 million exhibit of historic Civil War era antiques, highlighted by one of the two known 1861 Philadelphia Mint Paquet Double Eagles and recovered SS Republic sunken treasure, will be displayed by Monaco Financial, LLC, of Newport Beach, California during the June 2 – 4, 2005 Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo.
Civil War artifacts include weapons, flags and a cannonball still embedded in the tree stump it struck nearly 150 years ago. The special display showcases the first public exhibition in California of the finer of the two known Paquet Double Eagle specimens. The impressive design of this historic, multi-million dollar coin is named after Mint engraver, Anthony C. Paquet.
The Paquet reverse was the first attempt to refine the design of the reverse of the Double Eagle; however, because of technical problems the effort was quickly scuttled by the Mint Director. All but two of the Philadelphia coins ended up being melted, explained Monaco Financial Vice President, Adam Crum, author of “An Insider’s Guide to Collecting Type I Double Eagles.”
Anthony C. Paquet was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1814 and became Assistant Mint Engraver to James Longacre in 1857. After proving himself with numerous assignments at the Mint, he was given the task of redesigning the Double Eagle’s reverse in 1859.
He looked first for inspiration at ancient Roman coins, but it was Paquet’s second design a simple, but elegantly executed version of Longacre’s original concept as originally drawn, with cleaner, more elegant lettering that was selected. A few 1860-dated copper patterns were struck along with one in gold (now in the Smithsonian) and the new reverse design was ready for regular production as 1861 began, said Crum.
The new Paquet reverses began being struck immediately at the beginning of 1861, but by January 5 production halted. Mint Director James Ross Snowden wrote: In preparing the new dies for 1861, a slight deviation in the diameter of the Double Eagle was inadvertently made.
According to Crum, the Mint was under a great deal of pressure to get the new coinage struck and into circulation, so, rather than fixing the problem, the order was given to use the old reverse design.
For Paquet, the problem was devastating. Mint engravers, despite their talents, were expected to produce workable dies. After this incident he was used sparingly at the Mint, and he resigned his position in 1864.
The special display also at the Long Beach Coin Expo is the first California stop in a series of appearances of the World’s Most Valuable Coins traveling exhibit which showcases Type I Coronet Double Eagles recovered from the 1865 shipwreck of the SS Republic off the coast of Savannah, Georgia in 2003.
These are Marquee Coins, a glittering array of dazzling rarities in exceptional condition, said Crum. The exhibit will include these Type I Coronet Double Eagles recovered from the Republic and graded by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation:
- 1857-O, NGC MS-62 Prooflike
- 1858-O, NGC MS-63
- 1860, NGC MS-65
- 1861-S Paquet reverse, NGC AU-58
For additional information about the coins and the exhibit, contact: Adam Crum at Monaco Financial, 4900 Birch St., Newport Beach, CA 92660. Phone: 888-900-9948.