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    1915-S Panama-Pacific Octagonal Fifty Dollar, MS64
    A Coin Reminder of This Historic Exposition

    1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Octagonal MS64 PCGS. CAC. Nine years after the devastating earthquake of 1906, San Francisco hosted what can only be described as one of the most opulent and ambitious world exhibitions before or since. The Panama-Pacific International Exposition covered 635 acres and spanned two miles with an average width of a half-mile. An information pamphlet for exhibitors described the layout:

    "Viewed from the Bay, to the east will stand the sixty acres of Amusement Concessions; to the west will be grouped the buildings of the States of the Union and the Foreign Government pavilions; while the fourteen vast palaces, in which the various exhibits will be displayed, will form the center.

    "The general impression of this central group will be that of a vast enclosed palace. The walls will be pierced only by the superb entrances and archways forming the approaches to the interior Courts, the introduction of which marks an important departure in Exposition architecture."

    The expansive setting was designed to showcase recent advances in liberal arts, education, horticulture, agriculture, transportation, industry, metallurgy, and other scientific endeavors. Highlighting the "best productions of the brush and pencil" and sculpture from all nations since 1905 was another objective of the fair. Distinguished artists from the United States and around the world were commissioned, their works on display throughout the exhibition. Concluding its informative section on the department of fine art, the pamphlet declared: "By reason of this Exposition's universal character, its artistic influence is bound to remain an enduring reality of the broadest possible scope long after the physical features shall have become only a pleasant memory."

    That prophecy came true thanks in large part to the fifty dollar gold coins, known affectionately as slugs, designed by California sculptor Robert Aitken. Issued in Round and Octagonal formats, both coins depict the Roman goddess Minerva and her owl. The Octagonal coins, of which 645 pieces were sold to the public, feature dolphins around the periphery, symbolic of the Panama Canal waterway. Composed of more than 2.4 troy ounces of gold, these Pan-Pac fifties are impressive reminders of the grandeur of the PPIE, the technological and artistic progress made around the turn of the century, and the importance of gold in the development of the West Coast economy.

    This near-Gem example exhibits soft, frosted mint luster and there are only the tiniest contact marks present. The strike details are strong, the only exception being the centers of each side. An outstanding memento of this historic exposition.(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.

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    Auction Dates
    August, 2016
    10th-14th Wednesday-Sunday
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