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    Finest Known 1915-S Panama-Pacific Octagonal Fifty Dollar--A Spectacular MS67 Example

    1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Octagonal MS67 NGC. At the time of issue and subsequently, much was made of the Classical elements of the fifty-dollar gold coins designed by Robert I. Aitken. What is important to realize, though, is not what the various design elements are and how they relate to coinage from the ancient Greeks. What is most important to know is what each of the various motifs represented to Americans in 1915. Undoubtedly, the round and octagonal fifties are the most symbolic of all United States coins. The head of Athena represents America with her helmet pushed back on her head in a ready but not warlike position, as this country closely followed the Great War in Europe and contemplated our own possible involvement in that bloody conflagration. Dolphins are positioned in the eight angles of the octagon, symbolizing the continuous water route completed by the Panama Canal. On the reverse, the owl seated on the Ponderosa pine, of course, represents wisdom. As art historian Cornelius Vermeule stated: "These coins were a tour de force, dated to be sure, but unusual enough in all respects to be worthy of what American numismatic art could achieve when creativity and Mint technique worked in unison."
    Since so few people could afford to pay $100 for a $50 gold coin in 1915, the 645 octagonal and 483 round fifties are generally found in a high degree of preservation with the average coin in MS63-64 condition. However, an octagonal in MS67 is unprecedented in our experience. This is the only MS67 certified by either of the major grading services, and it is truly a phenomenal coin. The mint luster is bright and softly frosted with yellow-gold color that gives the coin even more visual appeal. The surfaces show no abrasions to the unaided eye, with the only marks of any note being two or three tiny, shallow abrasions on the cheek of Athena--but strong magnification is required to discern these minor flaws--otherwise the surfaces appear flawless. The striking details are also crisp throughout.(#7452)(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
    July, 2005
    27th-29th Wednesday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 17
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