An $18 million display of two rare Double Eagles ($20 denomination U.S. gold coins) accompanied by Boston-related early Americana, including an early printing of the Declaration of Independence, will be among the exhibit highlights in the Museum Showcase area at the American Numismatic Association (ANA) World's Fair of Money convention in Boston, August 10-14.
The coins in this first-ever joint display are each the finest of their kind: the 1861 Philadelphia Mint "Paquet Reverse" gold $20, graded NGC MS67, and the 1921 Proof Roman Finish Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, graded NGC SP64.
Insured for $8 million each, both two-of-a-kind coins are being provided for the exhibit by Brian Hendelson, President of Classic Coin Co. of Bridgewater, New Jersey.
"This will be the first time both coins have ever been displayed at the same time and location. It will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for thousands of visitors to see them together up close," he said.
In descriptive text prepared for the exhibit, ANA Museum Curator Douglas Mudd headlines the Paquet design Double Eagle as "a coin fit for a king."
One of its former owners was the notorious King Farouk of Egypt who amassed a fabled coin collection before he was deposed in 1952. It also was in the famous coin collection of Ambassador and Mrs. R. Henry Norweb.
In addition to these two coins, other historic items in the display from Hendelson's own collection include one of the few known surviving broadsides of the Declaration of Independence, printed in Boston circa July 17, 1776, by printers Gill, Powars and Willis.
The 1861 Philadelphia Mint "Paquet Reverse" gold $20 Double Eagle Coin
Nearly three million Double Eagles were struck in 1861 at the Philadelphia Mint, but today only two are known with a slightly modified design on the reverse made by Assistant Mint Engraver, Anthony Paquet.
Paquet also engraved the first Congressional Medal of Merit. His lettering on the $20 coin is taller and more slender than the design originally created in 1857 by Chief Engraver James Longacre.
Roman-finish proof gold Double Eagles were struck in 1909 and 1910, but no example of that kind of presentation strike for 1921 Double Eagles was known until only ten years ago, when the first one publicly surfaced.
"That coin traces its pedigree to Raymond T. Baker, who was director of the United States Mint in 1921," explained Mudd.
The specimen that will be exhibited at the ANA convention surfaced in 2006 and is "in superb, gem proof condition. Many in the numismatic fraternity feel that this coin will stand the test of time and join its place amongst the Olympians of numismatics.
"The Smithsonian will be displaying nearby the most valuable non-collectible Double Eagles - the unique 1849 and an example of a 1933," said Mudd.
"The two coins in this other exhibit are the most valuable collectible Double Eagles," said Hendelson. "The ANA World's Fair of Money in Boston will be a golden opportunity to see all these important gold coins in one place at one time."
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