Paquet Seated Half Dollar Patterns
1859 P50C Half Dollar, Judd-236, Pollock-285, Silver Plated, R.5

Anthony Paquet's design offers a seated Liberty facing leftward, looking expectantly toward the horizon. She supports a fasces with her right hand, and balances a shield in her left. The reverse features a large eagle with an olive branch and lengthy arrows in the claws. Struck in copper with a reeded edge, then silver plated, presumably outside of the Mint.

PR64 $2,530.00 (Sep 10, 2009 HA.com)
1859 P50C Half Dollar, Judd-249, Pollock-288, High R.7

The Paquet Liberty Seated with Fasces obverse. A homely, disproportionate Liberty is seated on a rock, shield at her lowered right (facing) hand and holding the top of a fasces in her left hand. An olive branch and three arrowheads lie--curiously so--under the shield. Thirteen stars encircle the rim. On the reverse, a cereal wreath encloses a large fraction 1/2 on two lines, with DOLLAR on a third line beneath. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.

PR61 $4,312.50 (May 28, 2009 HA.com)
1859 P50C Half Dollar, Judd-251, Pollock-290, High R.7

Both sides were designed by Anthony Paquet. The obverse shows a stiff figure of Liberty with right hand resting on a fasces, left hand on a shield. The reverse has 50 CENTS in the center and is surrounded by a wreath of cotton, tobacco, sugar cane, corn, wheat, and oak leaves. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.

PR61 $2,990.00 (May 28, 2009 HA.com)
1859 P50C Half Dollar, Judd-235, Pollock-282, R.6

Paquet's obverse design features a left-facing Liberty, seated, supporting a fasces with her right hand and a shield with her left. Thirteen small stars surround the periphery with the date, 1859, in exergue. Arrows and olive branches lie at the base of the shield. 

A slightly disproportionate eagle, with wings spread, holds three slender arrows in its left claw and an olive sprig with its right talon. The perfect scroll held in the eagle's beak reads E PLURIBUS UNUM with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA occupying the upper periphery and HALF DOLLAR the lower. The vertical lines in the shield are in groups of four each, as opposed to three lines as found on the similar "broken ribbon" version of this pattern. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.

Interestingly, Judd chose to classify four different die marriages of this design within two categories: Judd-235 for the silver pieces and Judd-236 for the copper strikings. Each of the Judd varieties actually includes two different reverse dies. The difference in the reverse dies--both by Paquet--is most easily recognized in the shield design and the broken, versus perfect, condition of the ribbon held in the eagle's beak. In addition, on Pollock-282 the eagle has seven tail feathers, whereas the Pollock-284 eagle shows six tail feathers. Judd-235 comprises the aforementioned Pollock attributions.

PR67 $8,050.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1859 P50C Half Dollar, Judd-248, Pollock-287, High R.7

The Paquet Liberty Seated With Fasces obverse. A homely, disproportionate Liberty is seated on a rock, shield at her lowered right (facing) hand and holding the top of a fasces in her left hand. An olive branch and three arrowheads lie--curiously so--under the shield. Thirteen stars encircle the rim. The reverse is the familiar Cereal Wreath design, with denomination HALF DOLLAR in the center. Struck in copper with a reeded edge.

Pollock notes that in October 1859 Mint Director James Ross Snowden wrote to Treasury Secretary Howell Cobb, asking that the reverse of this design be adopted for all silver circulating coins, but it ultimately was placed only on the dime and half dime denominations. Snowden in 1860 attributed the reverse to Anthony Paquet. USPatterns.com opines that these pieces, of which less than a half dozen exist, were "struck from rusted dies in the 1860s or 1870s."

PR65 Brown $7,475.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1859 P50C Half Dollar, Judd-253, Pollock-292, High R.7

The design is, as Judd puts it, a "curious muling" of what are actually two obverses, the Paquet Liberty Seated with Fasces and the James B. Longacre (?--see below) French Liberty Head. Obverse 1: A homely, disproportionate Liberty is seated on a rock, shield at her lowered right (facing) hand and holding the top of a fasces in her left hand. An olive branch and three arrowheads lie--curiously so--under the shield. Thirteen stars encircle the rim. Obverse 2: Liberty with an elongated neck faces right, a scroll reading LIBERTY wrapping irregularly at the bust truncation. She has an elaborate floral wreath in her hair, and the tall, thin, stilted letters characteristic of Anthony Paquet spell out UNITED STATES OF AMERICA at the rim. The date 1859 appears in exergue on both sides. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.

This is strictly a fantasy piece, with "two heads and no tails"--although therein lies a tale. Saul Teichman of USPatterns.com writes that "these were possibly struck in 1859 as an example of this was offered as lot 1185 of Bangs and Co.'s April 1865 sale of the Joseph N.T. Levick collection." Teichman adds the interesting comment that he questions whether the French Head, traditionally attributed to James B. Longacre, was really designed by Anthony C. Paquet, as the design here uses the characteristic Paquet letter punches. USPatterns.com estimates there are a half-dozen pieces known, but three are impounded, presumably permanently, in museum collections.

Similar Paquet-style letters, with tall, fat uprights, narrow letter widths, and tiny horizontals, would two years later be famously employed on the 1861 and 1861-S Paquet Reverse double eagles, regular issues although rare. This is one of the many patterns that may have been created as "trade bait" for the recently formed Mint Cabinet, as the period 1859-60 seems to have been a heyday of such activity, which had only recently gone underground.

PR65 $17,250.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
Source for information and pictures courtesy of  Heritage Coin Auctions
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