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    Gem 1915-S Panama-Pacific Octagonal Fifty Dollar
    Exceptionally Clean, Satiny Surfaces

    1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Octagonal MS65 NGC. Nearly 100 years after their issuance, the 1915-S Panama-Pacific round and octagonal commemorative gold pieces remain the largest-format gold coins issued by the U.S. Mint, with the exception of certain rare pattern issues. (Some modern commemorative coins such as the Platinum American Eagles have larger denominations but are smaller in size.) Containing more than 2.4 net pure ounces of gold, the coins, medallic in nature, required the Mint's special medal press for striking. And today they are striking in another sense, as among the most popular American coins and certainly among the all-time most popular U.S. commemorative issues from the classic era of U.S. numismatics.
    For most pre-World War I Americans, it was prohibitively expensive to attend the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. The bulk of the fifty dollar coins, both round and octagonal, remained unsold and were later melted, leaving net distribution figures of only 483 for the round and 645 for the octagonal pieces. Those net distributions make the two issues by far the lowest of the classic commemorative era. (The octagonal coins, due to their unusual shape and their harkening back to the 1851-52 Humbert-U.S. Assay Office fifty dollar Territorial gold pieces, were the better sellers of the two options.)
    Collectors prize the Pan-Pac fifties not only for their rarity and collectability, but as well for the well-executed design of sculptor Robert Aitken that recalls the best of Classical Greek art, updated to a modern, bold American style. This Gem example allows full appreciation of Aitken's Classical allusions with bright, satiny surfaces and no noticeable abrasions. The yellow-gold color from 1915 has taken on a slight accent of reddish patina in the almost 100 years since minting.(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# BYLX, PCGS# 7452)

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2012
    18th-22nd Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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