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The obverse of this coin showcases Liberty facing to the left, encircled by 13 stars, with her hair gracefully cascading down her shoulder. Her crown, known as the coronet, features the word "LIBERTY" in raised relief, while the date is positioned at the lower part of the design. The image of Liberty in this portrait is a modified version inspired by a Greco-Roman statue that deeply impressed the coin's designer, James Longacre. On the reverse side, you'll find an eagle with its wings elegantly outstretched, bearing a Union shield placed over its chest. The eagle clutches an olive branch in its right talon and firmly grasps a bundle of arrows in its left talon. Above the eagle's head, there is an oval arrangement of 13 stars along with a radiating pattern. The denomination is indicated at the bottom as "TWENTY D." The presence of double scrolls flanking the shield is Longacre's nod to the double eagle denomination. The left scroll bears the inscription "E PLURIBUS" in relief, while the right scroll displays "UNUM," also in relief.
Type 1 Liberty Head Double Eagles were minted annually from 1850 to 1866, and this series contains a plethora of rare coins. Every Mint-state example is considered at least scarce, with most falling into the rare category, and a substantial number classified as very rare. The branch Mint issues, in particular, are exceptionally scarce, with New Orleans releases ranking among the scarcest within the series. Notably, a significant portion of the 1861 New Orleans issue was produced during the period of Confederate authority. Unfortunately, distinguishing between coins struck by the United States and those struck by the Confederate States is an impossible task. According to Breen, it is estimated that approximately 71% of the total mintage was produced under Confederate authority, suggesting that any collector in possession of an 1861-O specimen likely holds a coin struck while the Confederate flag was flying over the Mint.
Achieving legendary status is the 1861 Paquet Reverse edition. In that year, Mint Engraver Anthony Paquet introduced modifications to the reverse design, most notably altering the lettering and the rim. Paquet's version featured more elongated and slender letters, with a considerably narrower border compared to the original Longacre design. Despite its artistic appeal, it quickly became evident that these changes were impractical. The narrow rim failed to adequately protect the design from wear, and the altered design resulted in premature die breakage. The Mint Director promptly ordered the reinstatement of the old reverse and, via telegram, instructed the San Francisco Mint to cease using the new design. Only two Paquet Reverse specimens from the Philadelphia Mint are known to exist, while San Francisco Mint coins, with a mintage of 19,250 before cessation, occasionally become available. They are highly sought after and carry a premium value beyond what their mintage figures might suggest.
A LITTLE STICKER MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE.
Within each number of the coin grading scale is a small range of condition from low-end to high-end. Certified coins of the same grade can be of varying quality. Many of today’s collectors want coins that are solid or premium quality for their assigned grade. CAC holds coins to a higher standard so you can be confident in the value of yours. We verify previously graded coins … and award our sticker only to those coins that meet the standard for today’s selective buyer.
WHAT THE CAC STICKER MEANS:
Verified. Your coin has been verified as meeting the standard for strict quality within its grade.
Guaranteed. CAC stands behind our verification.
THE CAC STICKER IS BACKED BY EXPERIENCE.
CAC was founded by leading members of the numismatic community, including John Albanese, a respected authority on coin grading and the rare coin market.
The pricing quoted on this page is based on the current market price for this precious metal, which constantly fluctuates and we continuously update from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday.
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