1915 No-S Panama-Pacific Gold Dollar, PR62
1915 PG$1 Panama-Pacific, Judd-1966, (formerly Judd-1793A-3),
Pollock-2033, R.8, PR62 NGC. Regular issue for the
Panama-Pacific gold dollar, but lacking the S-mintmark. Struck in
gold with a plain edge. The Panama-Pacific dollar is a thoroughly
modern coin, and a radical departure from previous Classical-styled
coin designs. It directly refers to the thousands of workers needed
to complete the Panama Canal. On the obverse a laborer is shown
with an unadorned cap. The reverse design is noteworthy with its
two dolphins, representing the joining of the Atlantic and Pacific
Oceans. The coin was designed by Charles Keck, a sculptor who had
served in the 1890s as an assistant to Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
Judd-1966, Plain Edge, Only Six Pieces Known
Two Plain Edge Pieces Struck
There were 11 Pan-Pac gold dollars struck lacking the S-mintmark. The specific reason for the lack of the mintmark is unknown, but it has been widely attributed to the influence of Farran Zerbe. The Judd reference states: "... the majority of the pieces went into private hands, perhaps those of Zerbe himself or of Secretary of the Treasury William G. Mc Adoo."
Earlier editions of the Judd pattern reference listed the striking emission for these coins, based on the progression of three die cracks common to all 11 pieces. What we are most curious about was when this emission sequence was conducted. The most likely time to have conducted this was when all were together in 1954 in Cairo, as all the pieces are ex: Farouk. But we cannot find a first-hand account of this 11-coin examination. The numbering sequence from the seventh edition of Judd shows this coin to be the fourth impression (Judd 1793a-3), and it is one of only two Plain Edge pieces struck. Below is a partial roster of Reeded and Plain Edge specimens.
Reeded Edge Specimens:
First Impression. Judd-1965 (formerly Judd-1793a-1), reeded edge, PR63 PCGS. The first impression. Ex: Pennsylvania Cabinet (Bowers and Merena, 11/1997), lot 1406, where it brought $20,900.
Second Impression. Judd-1965 (formerly Judd-1793a-2), reeded edge, PR62 NGC. Ex: Virgil Brand; B.G. Johnson; Celina Coin Co.; A. Friedman; 1979 ANA Auction (NERCA, 7/1979), lot 1365; New Millennium Collection / New York Signature (Heritage, 11/2003), lot 11253, where it brought $33,350.
Sixth Impression. Judd-1965 (formerly Judd-1793a-5), reeded edge, PR65 NGC. Struck on a thin planchet and the finest known. Ex: Pennsylvania Cabinet (Bowers and Merena, 11/1997), lot 1407, where it realized $20,900.
Ninth Impression. Judd-1965 (formerly Judd-1793a-8), reeded edge, PR64 NGC. Ex: Voight and Lee Collections (Bowers and Merena, 3/1999), lot 65, where it sold for $20,700.
Plain Edge Specimen:
Fifth Impression. Judd-1966 (formerly Judd-1793a-4), plain edge, PR63 NGC. The Judd reference now assigns this plain edge version a different catalog number from the reeded edge coins. Ex: Farouk Collection (Sotheby's, 2/1954), lot 288; 1979 ANA Sale (NERCA, 7/1979), lot 1369; ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/1997), lot 7353, where it brought $8,750.
This 20th century pattern rarity has bright yellow-gold surfaces. A few shallow rim nicks are seen on the obverse, and there is a noticeable wire rim around most of the reverse. This is a fleeting opportunity to acquire this major rarity. Only six other pieces have been certified, including the two Plain Edge pieces, with the finest being a PR65 (11/12).
From The Douglas Collection. (NGC ID# 2AMK, PCGS# 62270)
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