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    1915-S Panama-Pacific Round Fifty Dollar
    Satiny Near-Gem
    Lowest Distribution of the Pan-Pac Issues

    1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Round MS64 NGC. The Panama-Pacific International Exposition, held in San Francisco in 1915 from February to December, was a grand success in many ways, and perhaps most significantly in terms of artistic and architectural exhibition -- all the way from the majestic Palace of Fine Arts (the only Exposition structure still standing today on the original fair grounds) to the small gold and silver souvenir coins that were issued at the San Francisco Mint midway through the event. The latter are the most widely collected mementos of the Pan-Pac Exposition today, thanks to avid interest from numismatists.

    There were five different coins issued, including a silver half dollar, gold dollar, quarter eagle, and fifty dollar gold pieces in both round and octagonal format. Of these, the fifties are by far the rarest and most sought-after today. Slightly more than 1,500 examples of each variety were struck, including assay pieces. The coins were so large that a medal press had to be shipped to San Francisco from the Philadelphia Mint to strike them. However, sales of the gold fifties fell short of expectations, largely due to the twice-face-value price advertised by Farran Zerbe, which made the them prohibitively expensive for the majority of the Exposition attendees. One hundred dollars was much more money in 1915 than most folks could part with. By the end of the Exposition, 855 octagonal fifties and 1,015 round were melted as unsold, leaving net distributions of only 645 and 483 coins, respectively. No doubt many collectors regretted not purchasing an example of the hefty Pan-Pac fifties at the fair, as within five years the numismatic value of these pieces had virtually doubled. Today, the acquisition of one of these "slugs" is a landmark achievement for the classic commemorative collector.

    The round variant is the scarcer and more highly sought-after of the two varieties. Due to the nature of their distribution as mementos, most were well-preserved and are Mint State today. Nonetheless, Gems are rarely seen. This Choice example showcases a full strike and satiny yellow-gold luster. Light marks on Minerva's cheek determine the grade but hardly affect the eye appeal. An outstanding example of this major 20th century gold rarity.(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
    Oct-Nov, 2016
    31st-2nd Monday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
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