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    1915-S Panama-Pacific Round Fifty Dollar
    An Outstanding MS64 Example

    1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Round MS64 NGC. Numismatic art commentator Cornelius Vermeule speaks kindly of the Panama-Pacific fifties in the classic Numismatic Art in America:

    "The numismatic sensations [emphasis ours] of the Panama-Pacific Exposition were the two $50 gold coins, one round and the other octagonal. Robert Aitken tried to create modern, pseudo-Athenian coin, in an idiom of archaeological classicism popular among many American sculptors trained partly at the American Academy in Rome before and after the First World War. His ideas were laudable. There were a minimum of inscriptions, a classic Greco-Egyptian profile of Athena in full panoply, the date in roman numerals, and a naturalistic owl in a mass of Western pine cones. Dolphins fill the corners of the octagonals. ... In an overall view, the arresting feature of the giant gold coins is their archaistic treatment of details in relief. Athena's crest, wreath, curls, and aegis imitate the work of an ancient bronze. The bead and reel between the outside rims comes from Greek architecture, and the form of the lettering around the rim recalls Roman sestertii of the Empire or Papal medallions of the cinquecento. 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."

    In the near-century since their manufacture, the Panama-Pacific fifties have grown in stature and appeal, and today represent, along with the Saint-Gaudens High Relief twenties dated MCMVII, the pinnacle both of numismatic art and numismatic accomplishment. Some collectors might even argue that the artistry and appeal of the Pan-Pac fifties surpass that of the more-available High Reliefs. In either case, the Pan-Pac fifties remain "sensational" tour de forces today--and far and away the keys to a complete commemorative gold collection.
    The soft, frosted mint luster of this piece has virtually no interruptions in the surfaces. The only grade-limiting areas are actually Mint-made and both are located on Minerva's cheek. There are several light reddish alloy spots and a short, diagonal planchet flake. Otherwise the surfaces are essentially defect-free. The bright yellow-gold color has taken on just the slightest overlay of light reddish patina.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# BYHP, PCGS# 7451)

    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, 2010
    11th-15th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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