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1915-S Panama-Pacific Round Fifty Dollar, MS65
One of the Few 'Global Classics' With Internationally Recognized Value

1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Round MS65 NGC. The 1915-S Panama-Pacific coins were sold and packaged in numerous options, from single coins to single five-coin sets for $200 and double sets of each of the five coin designs and denominations mounted in copper frames under glass, which sold for $400. It nonetheless was a fact of life that the cheapest a fifty dollar Pan-Pac could be had for was $100, double the face value and a costly burden to most collectors. Of the net 3,000 authorized fifty dollar coins, only 483 round and 645 octagonal pieces were saved from the melting pot.
It appears that Farran Zerbe, the well-known numismatic huckster and tireless promoter of the Pan-Pac fifties as well as other commemorative gold coins, had the last laugh when it came to his detractors.
Zerbe wrote to the editor of The Numismatist in March 1921, saying:

"After reading in your January issue your pertinent comment re the New York World's item on special coins passing to circulation at face value, there was an additional relish to find on another page that a set of the Panama-Pacific coins, which sold for $200 in 1915-16, brought $315 in Low's recent sale. The next generation will pay $500 for this set. It is a satisfaction for me to know that all of the many special coins I have been associated with have no remainder for hoarders or speculators to obtain under conditions that sent any of them on the market to be sold at prices less than originally established. All now command a premium over their introductory price."

Just recently, PCGS founder David Hall was interviewed in the June 2011 Rosen Numismatic Advisory, where he called the 1915-S Pan-Pacs "global classics": "What coin can I stick in my pocket and take anywhere in the world? A Pan-Pac $50 fills that bill, as does a $4 Stella, a Bust $10, a 1795 $5. I really like those kind of classic rarities."
This is a lovely, high-end example of this "global classic." The satiny mint luster has taken on a slight reddish tinge. Each side is remarkably unmarked, the only pedigree identifier we see is a tiny planchet flake out of the obverse field in front of the mouth of Minerva.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# BYHP, PCGS# 7451)

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Auction Dates
January, 2012
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 5
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