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Description

1915-S Panama-Pacific Fifty Dollar Round
Attractive MS65 Example

1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Round MS65 NGC. The PCGS Collectors Forum is abuzz with news of possible legislation that would authorize the Mint to produce 2015-dated (or MMXV-dated?) "replicas" of the Panama-Pacific commemorative coins. Many collectors expressed enthusiasm for the idea, including one who mentioned his longtime preference for the "octagonal quintuple eagle."

"Quintuple eagle" is a term that was first applied to the 1851-52 fifty dollar octagonal issues of Augustus Humbert and the U.S. Assay Office; smaller-denomination gold coinage was either prohibited or bureaucratically blocked during the early years of the California Gold Rush. The "eagle" was a ten dollar gold piece, of course, and the Humbert-U.S. Assay Office quintuple eagles were also called "quints," "ingots," "adobes," and "slugs."

Both the term "quintuple eagle" and the octagonal fifty dollar gold pieces, in particular, recall the heady days of the California Gold Rush as exemplified by the "Forty-Niners," men who beginning in 1849 abandoned land and family in a pell-mell rush to California in order to yank fame and fortune from the fields of gold.

The authorizing legislation for the 1915-S Panama-Pacific coins included five coins from silver half dollar to gold dollar and quarter eagle and the two fifty dollar pieces, in the round and octagonal variants. Not knowing how many of each of the large gold pieces would sell, the Mint struck extras of each kind, about 1,500 of each plus a handful of assay coins. The octagonal pieces proved a bit more popular and thus fewer were melted. The octagonals ended up with a net distribution of 645 pieces, versus 483 for the round versions.

The net gold content of each version is the same, but the octagonal coins feature frolicking dolphins in the eight corners, and the inner perimeters and design elements are all slightly reduced to accommodate the extra design touch. Grade-for-grade the round version sells for only slightly more than the octagonal pieces, but both versions are revered as the most pursued collectibles in the entire U.S. commemorative series.

This is a remarkably attractive coin example. Thick mint luster is seen over the orange-gold surfaces. Close examination reveals a few tiny marks on the face of Minerva, but none that are singularly distracting.
From The Fenn Family Collection.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 26HM, PCGS# 7451)

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Auction Info

Auction Dates
February, 2013
7th-10th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 13
Members Tracking: N/A
Page Views: 2,106

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