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The obverse of this coin variant, you'll find an image of Liberty facing left, encircled by 13 stars, with her hair gracefully draping over her shoulder. Her crown, known as the coronet, bears the word "LIBERTY" in raised relief, and the date is positioned at the bottom. The design for Liberty's portrait is derived from a Greco-Roman statue that greatly impressed the coin's designer, James Longacre. On the reverse side, there is a depiction of an eagle with its wings outstretched, and it proudly carries a Union shield on its chest. The eagle clutches an olive branch in its right claw, while its left claw firmly holds a bundle of arrows. Above the eagle's head, there is an oval arrangement of 13 stars and a radiant pattern. The coin's denomination is expressed as "TWENTY D." at the bottom. The double scrolls flanking the shield are Longacre's nod to the double eagle denomination, with the left scroll bearing the inscription "E PLURIBUS" in relief and the right scroll displaying "UNUM," also in relief.
Type 1 Liberty Head Double Eagles were produced each year from 1850 to 1866, and this series is filled with rare specimens. All examples in mint condition are considered at least scarce, with most falling into the rare category and quite a few being classified as very rare. Coins from branch mints are particularly hard to come by, and New Orleans releases are among the scarcest within the series. Interestingly, a significant portion of the 1861 New Orleans issue was minted during the period of the Confederacy. Regrettably, it is impossible to distinguish between coins struck by the United States and those struck by the Confederate States. It is estimated that 71% of the total mintage was produced under Confederate authority, making it highly likely that any collector holding an 1861-O specimen possesses a coin that was struck while the Confederate flag flew over the Mint.
Earning legendary status is the 1861 Paquet Reverse edition. In that year, Mint Engraver Anthony Paquet made modifications to the reverse design, most notably altering the lettering and the rim. Paquet's version featured more elongated and slender letters, with a significantly narrower border compared to the original Longacre design. Although artistically pleasing, it quickly became evident that these changes were impractical. The narrow rim failed to protect the design from wear, and the new design led to premature die breakage. The Mint Director promptly ordered the reinstatement of the old reverse and instructed the San Francisco Mint, via telegram, to discontinue the use of the new reverse. Only two Paquet Reverse specimens from the Philadelphia Mint are known to exist. Occasionally, San Francisco Mint coins become available, as 19,250 were struck and issued before production was halted. 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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