Near-Gem 1915-S Octagonal Pan-Pac Fifty Dollar
1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Octagonal MS64 NGC. The
1915-S Panama-Pacific fifty dollar gold coins, struck in round and
octagonal versions, were a dual commemoration. They fêted the 1914
completion of the colossal Panama Canal and the importance of the
Pacific Ocean to American and world commerce, but they also served
as a quadrennial observance of the epic crossing of the Isthmus of
Panama to the Pacific Ocean in 1513 by the Spanish explorer Vasco
Núñez de Balboa, becoming the first European to discover that
mighty body of water.
Delicately Toned Surfaces
For many collectors' tastes, the 1915-S fifty dollar gold coins are every bit as appealing and enticing as the MCMVII High Relief pieces -- and more so for some. While the High Reliefs perhaps win the prize for aesthetics, the Pan-Pacs win the prize for the simple novelty of the Robert I. Aitken design (in the good sense of classic numismatic art) as well as their sheer massivity, weighing 2.5 times that of a High Relief. They depict Minerva (Athena) on their obverse rather than Liberty (with optional swimming dolphins in the corners of the octagonal), and the reverse design featuring an owl and California pine cones -- the weaving spider and its web were removed at the draft stage -- is a welcome departure from "yet another eagle," no matter how beautifully rendered.
Many collectors express particular enthusiasm for the unusual octagonal gold coins, although the round 1915-S fifties have the lowest net distribution of any classic commemorative coin. Both types are classic American collectibles, among the most popular in the entire U.S. series. This is a particularly nice example. The surfaces display delicate shadings of lilac and golden-orange. There are a few light, grade-limiting scuffs in the center of each side, but this coin certainly presents well.
From The Fenn Family Collection.(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# BYHP, PCGS# 7452)
Weight: 83.59 grams
Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
View all of [The Fenn Family Collection ]
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