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Popular 1915-S Panama-Pacific Round Fifty Dollar, MS64
Lowest Distribution of Any Commemorative

1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Round MS64 NGC. Most numismatists are familiar with some of the hobby-vocation's thrice-told tales, for example of the S.S. Central America and her fateful voyage into a hurricane in 1857. What is perhaps less well-known or appreciated is the significance of the Panama Canal in such a tale. The opening of the canal in 1914 would shorten the distance to transport cargo and passengers from San Francisco to New York from 13,000 miles around South America's Cape Horn to just over 5,000 miles, halving a voyage of 60 days to one of 30. The existence of a Panama Canal in 1857 might not have prevented the fate of the Central America's final voyage, but it certainly would have made it easier for all ships to avoid the treacherous hurricane season.
The 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, held in San Francisco, celebrated the canal's opening the previous year. Much like the canal, still termed today the "eighth wonder of the world," the 1915-S Panama-Pacific round and octagonal fifty dollar commemorative pieces occupy a unique niche in U.S. numismatics, as the largest denomination of the classic commemoratives era from 1892 to 1954. Some modern-era Mint coins such as one-ounce platinum American Eagles have larger nominal values, and the gold Buffalo and American Eagle one-ounce coins are equally denominated at fifty dollars. But the 1915-S Pan-Pacs remain the largest in size and impressiveness, with the round coins measuring 1.75 inches across and weighing nearly 2.7 troy ounces. The fifty dollar round also has the distinctive status of having the lowest net distribution, at 483 coins, of any commemorative issue made in the United States.
This orange-gold near-Gem specimen has been carefully cared for in the many decades since its debut, unlike many examples of both types. Scattered mark are few and insignificant, and the large, exposed fields and high points of the devices on both sides are free of distractions. A memorable example of this increasingly popular and elusive issue.
From The Steven Forcier Collection of U.S. Classic Commemoratives.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# BYHP, PCGS# 7451)

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Auction Dates
December, 2009
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 12
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