Paquet, Anthony C. The engraver is one of relatively few assistants at the Mint who never achieved the chief engravership position, but whose name is a numismatic byword today. Although he signed many medals at the Philadelphia Mint, including the particularly important Washington Cabinet Medal for presentation on February 22, 1860, his patterns are unsigned. Among patterns attributed to Paquet are certain cent dies circa 1858, pattern half dollars and $20 coins of 1859, several issues of the 1860s, and at least one 1877 half dollar, among others. Dies employing tall letters with thick uprights are often attributed to him, and in the case of certain 1859 half dollars and of the 1861 Paquet Reverse $20 this is correct. Others may have been from punches that Paquet made, but which were employed by different artists.
Anthony C. Paquet was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1814, probably the son of Touissaint François Paquet, a bronze worker in that city. He came to America in 1848, and in the mid-1850s had an engraving shop in New York City. Unfortunately, there seems to be virtually nothing in present numismatic literature to identify tokens, medals, or any other metallic items he may have created prior to coming to the Mint, save for a John C. Fremont campaign medal; reverse inscription: "THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS ECHO BACK FREMONT," etc. No doubt, careful study of the letter punches on this medal would help to identify other Paquet dies of the era. During this era he had a shop in New York City, but may have worked elsewhere as well.
Paquet did contract work for the Mint in early 1857, and on October 20 of that year joined the Mint staff as an assistant engraver. He remained in that post through early 1864, after which he returned to the private sector, but continued to do important commissions for the government, including two designs for Indian Peace medals. Paquet furnished the letter punches for certain patterns and possibly regular coins as well, one recorded shipment arriving in late May, 1857, although he could have done earlier work as well. Apparently, the same engraver made up punches for various denominations including the dime, quarter, and half dollar. However, these fonts were not used at the time for circulating coinage.
Paquet died in 1882, leaving a great legacy of pattern coins, some regular issues, and an illustrious group of medals including the Congressional Medal of Honor (authorized by President Lincoln on July 12, 1861). His portrait of George Washington, based upon Jean Antoine Houdon's bust of 1785, was used on the 1860 Washington Cabinet medal, on a popular cent-sized Mint medalet, and elsewhere. Although these coins are not signed, the pattern Washington five-cent pieces of 1866 may be his work, at least in part.
The following is an example for a double eagle J257/P305.