1915-S Panama-Pacific Octagonal Fifty
1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Octagonal MS65 NGC.
Beginning with the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, a tradition was
established in the United States to stage grand commemorative
expositions celebrating important events such as the Louisiana
Purchase of 1804 and Lewis and Clark's expedition in 1805. In much
the same way, the Panama-Pacific International Exposition
commemorated the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 and the
regeneration of San Francisco after the earthquake of 1906.
Spanning two and a half miles along the city's waterfront and the
Golden Gate, the exhibition featured a variety of structures
constructed in all manner of architectural styles, organized into a
primary core of palaces and courts, a secondary band of individual
buildings and gardens, and tertiary ring of concessions and
Radiant, Mint-Fresh Gem
The PPIE differed from previously held expositions in its use of color. In contrast to the so-called "White City" of 1893 at Chicago, San Francisco's fair was polychromatic by design -- a method employed by the ancient Greeks. Jules Guerin was sanctioned with coordinating color for the Exposition. According to Dr. Gray Brechin, historical geographer at U.C. Berkeley: "The color scheme was meant as a joyous celebration of the California landscape ... "Gold was the favored adjective to describe the terrain and its products." The palaces often featured gold gilding on the roofs, and painter Robert Reid's murals for the Palace of Fine Arts paid homage to the "four golds" of California: gold, wheat, oranges, and poppies.
Appropriately, four gold coins were struck to commemorate the event: a dollar, two and a half dollar, and two fifty dollar pieces, one Round and the other Octagonal, as represented by the example offered here.
The Octagonal fifties were modeled after the legendary "slugs" produced by United States Assay Office, which circulated on the West Coast during the age of the Gold Rush. From a mintage of 1,500 coins, only 645 Octagonal "quintuple eagles" were distributed. The majority remained unsold and were subsequently melted the following year.
The sun-gold survivor offered here displays radiant mint luster and smooth, satiny surfaces. A carefully preserved Gem, the edges are without blemishes and the surfaces show no signs whatsoever of handling. Raised die polish lines are seen on the reverse surrounding the owl, as typical for the issue. Containing a massive 2.5 ounces of gold, this Pan-Pac Octagonal fifty will highlight any collection by its size, shape, and exquisite preservation.(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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