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    1915-S Octagonal Pan-Pac Octagonal Fifty, MS61
    The Mint's Finest Commemorative Achievement

    1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Octagonal MS61 NGC. The gold and silver commemoratives issued in conjunction with the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915, were not the San Francisco Mint's only involvement in the West Coast fair. An excerpt from the Mint Director's Annual Report for the fiscal year 1914 states:

    "The mint service will maintain a working exhibit at the Panama-Pacific Exposition, showing coinage operations complete from pig metal to the finished piece. It has not yet been determined whether coin and medals or only medals will be struck, but the striking of medals fully exhibits the methods of coinage. Most of the machinery installed in the exhibit will be borrowed from the San Francisco Mint, and coinage operations at this mint will in consequence be restricted in some degree while the exposition is open."

    When production of commemorative coins was proposed, it was initially intended for the silver half dollar to be produced on exposition grounds at the Mint's exhibit, thereby keeping the coining exhibit in operation continuously. However, this was never accomplished, and the Mint's exhibit produced only medals. The Pan-Pac commemoratives were struck the San Francisco Mint, but not all on ordinary presses.

    Robert Aitken's fifty dollar gold piece, to be produced in round and octagonal formats, required more pressure to strike than any working press at the San Francisco Mint could produce. A heavy medal press was shipped to the West Coast from Philadelphia for the sole purpose of striking just 3,000 fifty dollar Pan-Pac gold pieces, most of which were later melted as unsold. In total, the Octagonal Pan-Pac fifty had a distribution of 645 coins, and the Round variant just 483. Today, both issues are highly sought-after and present the only true "stopper" in the classic commemorative series, gold and silver issues combined. The fifty dollar gold pieces are perhaps the most enduring remnant of the United States Mint's involvement in the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915.

    This lower-end Octagonal coin displays an excellent strike and satiny peach-gold mint luster. Faint slide marks and a few minor ticks on each side determine the grade but are not bothersome. A convenient characteristic of this issue is that even low-grade Uncirculated Pan-Pac fifties generally retain good eye appeal as a product of the design layout and the naturally satiny luster. This piece is especially attractive for the grade.(Registry values: P7)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# BYLX, PCGS# 7452)

    Weight: 83.59 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2018
    13th-14th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 965

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