1915-S Panama-Pacific Round Fifty, MS65
    Magnificent Overall Surfaces

    1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Round MS65 NGC. Ron Guth writes of the Panama-Pacific round fifty dollar gold piece that it "ranks as one of the great numismatic rarities" of the 20th century. Up until the time of the release of the round and octagonal fifty dollar gold coins to celebrate the momentous 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, the United States had never struck an official fifty dollar commemorative.
    For artistic inspiration, designer Robert Aitken hearkened back to the days of ancient Greece and Rome for a neoclassical portrait of Athena (Minerva) on the obverse of the coin. The Romans considered Minerva the goddess of war and wisdom, protector of cities, and divine patroness of arts and crafts. (The incredible array of scientific, artistic, and technological achievement that was on display at the Panama-Pacific Exposition made the theme of Minerva doubly appropriate. Also an undoubted factor in the design choice of this "all-around mythological person," as Bowers calls her in his commemorative coins Guide Book, is her appearance as well on the arms of the State of California.) The owl, sacred to Minerva, is the central device on the reverse of the Pan-Pac fifties.
    Huckster-entrepreneur Farran Zerbe roundly condemned the Aitken design in a contemporary editorial in The Numismatist, complaining that all of the final designs had been "chosen by the Treasury Department without consulting the Exposition." But many subsequent generations have nonetheless praised both the artistry and execution of the Panama-Pacific fifties, and they are far and away the rarest and most desirable U.S. commemorative coins of the classic era.
    It is sometimes forgotten, but decades later, sculptor Aitken again turned to the figure of Minerva for artistic inspiration (or to the State Seal of California on which she is depicted), for the 1935-S and 1936-D California-Pacific Exposition commemorative silver half dollars, more commonly called San Diego halves for their reverse design.
    The overall preservation of this coin's surfaces are simply extraordinary. The only mark that keeps this magnificent coin from an even higher grade is a thin, shallow abrasion on Minerva's helmet; otherwise there are no noticeable contact marks on either side. The mint luster is bright and satiny with a slight, even reddish tinge. Rarely encountered in strict Gem condition. Census: 43 in 65, 28 finer (9/11).(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.

    Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Coins & Currency (view shipping information)

    Sales Tax information  | NGC Coin Grading Guarantee  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2011
    13th-16th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,919

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    15% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Floor auctions

    Open for bidding: (View All)

    Fine Art
    Ends on 01/30/2018

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 23 days left to consign to the 2018 March 29 - April 2 US Coins Signature Auction - Dallas!

    Learn about consigning with us

    I found it reassuring that your appraisal of my coin was realistic.
    J.G. ,
    Red Rock, TX
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2018 January 3 - 8 FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Tampa
    2018 January 3 - 8 FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Tampa
    REALIZED $40,949,094
    2018 January 16 - 17 NYINC World Coins Signature Internet Auction - New York
    2018 January 16 - 17 NYINC World Coins Signature Internet Auction - New York
    REALIZED SO FAR $2,388,416
    2018 January 4 - 8 FUN World Currency Signature Auction - Tampa
    2018 January 4 - 8 FUN World Currency Signature Auction - Tampa
    REALIZED $1,647,961