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    1915-S Panama-Pacific Fifty Dollar, MS65
    Popular Octagonal 'Slug' Format
    645 Coins Sold

    1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Octagonal MS65 NGC. Production of the large fifty dollar commemorative coins in celebration of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco was headline news. On January 5, 1915, The Morning Union newspaper of Grass Valley and Nevada City, California ran the following article:


    Fifty Dollar Slug of Fifties Will Again Be Seen in California.

    Washington, Jan. 4. -- The bill authorizing a memorial issue of $50, $2.50 and $1 gold coins and fifty cents silver coins, commemorating the Panama-Pacific Exposition, passed the House today. It already had passed the Senate. The fifty dollar coin will be modelled [sic] after the octagonal California coin of that denomination issued in California in 1851.

    Six months later, after an arduous process to complete a design for the large fifty dollar gold pieces, the Santa Barbara Morning Press published an Associated Press dispatch on June 16:


    San Francisco, June 15. -- A $50 gold piece, first of a series of various denominations commemorating the Panama-Pacific exposition, and the first coin of such value ever authorized by congress, was struck off here today at the United States mint. It was sold to Charles C. Moore, president of the exposition. All coins will be delivered to the exposition by the mint for sale at double value.

    The coins referenced in the June 15 article were these Octagonal variants. Fifty dollar commemoratives were also struck later on in Round format. A total of 1,500 of each type were produced for the PPIE. However, their exorbitant $100 face value limited sales to 645 of the former and 483 of the latter.

    This Gem is impressive, not only because of its sheer physical size, but also because of its excellent preservation. These large fifties are often wiped or show other signs of handling by fairgoers who were not necessarily numismatists. No such imperfections are present here. Satiny, finely textured yellow-gold surfaces display full strike definition and raised die polish lines in the fields (as made). A few tiny ticks on the rim are inconsequential. Wonderful eye appeal. NGC reports 13 finer submissions (10/18). (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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