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    1915-S Round Panama-Pacific Fifty, MS64
    Classic Gold Commemorative Issue
    Only 483 Examples Distributed

    1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Round MS64 PCGS. CAC. The 1915-S Panama-Pacific fifty dollar gold piece was part of an ambitious five-coin set of commemorative coins issued in conjunction with the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, to commemorate the opening of the Panama Canal and the recovery of San Francisco after the great earthquake of 1906. Numismatic entrepreneur Farran Zerbe conceived the plan for this unprecedented program of commemorative coins, and the set consisted of two fifty dollar gold pieces, both round and octagonal versions, a quarter eagle, a gold dollar, and a silver half dollar. The coins were initially offered in sets or individually, with the sets offered in velvet-lined black leatherette cases. More elaborate purchasing options were offered later, including sets encased in glass-fronted copper frames from Shreve & Co., a local jewelry firm. Heritage Auctions is privileged to offer one of the original sets in the leatherette holder, with the coins and holder offered separately in consecutive lots in this sale.

    The design for the two fifty dollar commemoratives was by sculptor Robert Aitken, who was born in San Francisco in 1878. The obverse features a helmeted Minerva, the Roman goddess of industry. Her companion owl (wisdom), graces the reverse, perched on a branch of western pine. The octagonal and round fifty dollar gold commemoratives were intended to have a maximum distribution of 1,500 pieces each, but sales fell far short of those objectives. The Pan-Pac fifties were priced at $100 each, a prohibitively high price for most collectors of the time. As a result, only 483 examples of the round fifty dollar coins were sold. The octagonal version fared a little better, but still only sold 645 pieces. The remainder were melted after sales closed.

    The round fifties began appearing at auction at least as early as lot 500 of the Cook-Conover Collections Sale (B. Max Mehl, 11/1916). Lots 500-504 of the sale comprised a five-piece set of 1915-S Panama-Pacific commemoratives, with the coins offered separately, much like the offering of the present set. The set was purchased by a single collector for a total price of $200. Recent sales of the round Pan-Pac fifty include the MS64 NGC specimen in lot 5194 of our January 2018 FUN Signature, which realized $120,000.

    The present coin is an attractive Choice specimen, with sharp definition on all design elements and well-preserved, lightly textured orange-gold surfaces that show no mentionable distractions. Vibrant mint luster adds to the outstanding eye appeal of this exceptional gold commemorative and we expect intense competition from series specialists when this lot is called. PCGS has graded 30 numerically finer examples (1/18).
    From The Property of a Lady. (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.

    View all of [The Property of a Lady ]

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    Auction Dates
    February, 2018
    22nd-27th Thursday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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