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    Description

    1915-S Panama-Pacific Gold Fifty, MS64
    Popular Octagonal Design
    645 Examples Distributed

    1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Octagonal, MS64 NGC. Five different commemorative coins were designed in conjunction with the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915, including two versions of the fifty dollar gold piece. The exposition was an ambitious world's fair held to commemorate the opening of the Panama Canal and the rebuilding of San Francisco after the earthquake of 1906. Numismatic entrepreneur Farran Zerbe was in charge of distribution and the coins were sold both singly and in sets.

    New York artist Robert I. Aitken designed both octagonal and round versions of the fifty dollar gold piece. The octagonal pieces were reminiscent of the old fifty dollar slugs of the Gold Rush days and the design was universally acclaimed for its beauty and symbolic appeal. According to Dave Bowers' Guide Book of United States Commemorative Coins, the obverse portrays the Greek goddess Minerva, who is "The Goddess of Wisdom, Skill, Contemplation, Spinning, Weaving and of Agriculture and Horticulture." The reverse depicts an owl, "sacred to Minerva, the accepted symbol of wisdom, perched upon a branch of western pine." The dolphins at the peripheries of the octagonal issue "suggesting as they encircle the central field, the uninterrupted water route made possible by the Panama Canal." A total of 1,509 octagonal fifties were minted, but only 645 were actually distributed because the purchase price of $100 per coin was too high for most collectors to afford. Accordingly, the coins are very scarce in all grades today, with the average specimen grading between AU58 and MS63.

    The present coin is a delightful Choice specimen with sharply detailed design elements throughout and well-preserved yellow-gold surfaces that show a few highlights of green and orange. Both sides radiate vibrant mint luster, with terrific eye appeal. NGC has graded 57 numerically finer examples (7/13).
    From The Joan Carroll 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 Joan Carroll Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    September, 2013
    25th-29th Wednesday-Sunday
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