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    1915-S Panama-Pacific Octagonal Fifty
    Exposition Relic, MS63

    1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Octagonal MS63 NGC. There is no debate that the Pan-Pac fifty dollar gold pieces of 1915 are the most prestigious issues in the classic commemorative series. The hefty gold weight, impressive size, and iconic neoclassical design elements -- symbolic as much as they are aesthetically pleasing -- rank the coins among the most sought-after of all United States gold pieces. The modern-day demand for Pan-Pac fifties of both varieties is perhaps the greatest fulfillment of Charles C. Moore's prediction upon seeing the first coin struck: "Numismatists will seek these coins with zeal."

    Farran Zerbe, in charge of the Department of Coins and Medals for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, was the primary distributor of the fifty dollar gold pieces, as well as the quarter eagle, gold dollar, and half dollar that were also issued for the San Francisco fair. Zerbe sold the coins individually and in sets through his Money of the World exhibit at the exposition. Robert R. Van Ryzin, in an April 1999 Coins Magazine article entitled "The ANA's day at the fair," wrote:

    "Zerbe's now famous exhibit was highlighted not only by his own vast collection but by rare pieces on loan to him, including (according to the April 1916 issue of The Numismatist): '... some exceptionally rare pieces from the collection of H.O. Granberg, Oshkosh, Wis., which included the finest known Oregon Beaver $10 gold coin, United States pattern pieces, and the eight-daler copper plate of Sweden; some very choice gold bank notes from George H. King of Denver; a unique collection of Oriental porcelain tokens and other specimens from Elmer S. Sears, Swansea, Mass.; selections from the medallic collection of A.J. deLagerberg, Passaic, N.J., and some favors through the courtesy of Dr. George F. Kunze of New York.' "

    Zerbe was an effective salesman for the Pan-Pac commemoratives, although sales of the fifty dollar gold pieces were stunted by the high purchase price of $100 per coin. The Mint struck 1,500 Octagonal and 1,500 Round fifties for sale through the exposition, but Zerbe was only able to distribute 645 Octagonal and 483 Round examples. The remainders were melted after the close of the exposition.

    This Select Octagonal example showcases a sharp strike and rich, satiny orange-gold mint luster. No mentionable abrasions are present. The Octagonal Pan-Pac fifty was the more popular of the two varieties in 1915, and it remains comparably sought-after today.(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: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,174

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