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1915-S Panama-Pacific Fifty Dollar Round
Bright, Lustrous AU58

1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Round AU58 NGC. The series of four coin designs in five shapes and sizes that commemorated the Panama-Pacific Exposition necessitated some unusual moves on the part of Mint personnel and equipment, as described in the June 1915 issue of The Numismatist:

"Governed by the information received from Washington, Philadelphia and San Francisco, the series of special commemorative coins for the Panama-Pacific Exposition may be expected ready for delivery very soon. Considering that this series of five special coins was not authorized until January, and that, due to doubts as to the passage of the bill providing so many different denominations, no advance preparation was made -- not even ideas for designs considered. If the coins are issued during the coming month it will have been a very prompt production, particularly since a new shape -- octagonal -- and two denominations not regularly coined, $1 and $50, have made necessary the production of special tools and press fittings. A new series of regular coins are usually many months in development ...
"A special hydraulic press used for medal stamping at the Philadelphia Mint was received at the San Francisco Mint during the month. This press, which weighs 14 tons and has a striking power of 450 tons, is for use in striking the 3,000 $50 gold pieces, and is to be returned to the Philadelphia Mint just as soon as the coinage has been completed."

The coinage was indeed completed "very soon," as a photograph from the August 1915 issue of The Numismatist depicts the striking of the first fifty dollar pieces in the hydraulic medal press. The "double face value" price did indeed serve to dampen sales, as of the 3,000 fifty dollar coins authorized, the net distributions ended up at 483 round and 645 octagonal pieces, the remainder melted as unsold.
Both the round and octagonal 1915-S Panama-Pacific coins remain today as the most prized representatives in the entire commemorative series. The magnificent design of the Pan-Pac fifty is fully evident on this near-Mint example. Just a slight bit of friction is seen on each side, the surfaces are otherwise unaffected by the handling marks one would normally expect. The surfaces are bright yellow-gold with just a hint of reddish patina.
From The Emil Ross Collection.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# BYHP, PCGS# 7451)

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Auction Dates
July, 2011
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 6
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