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    1915-S Panama-Pacific Fifty, MS65
    Scarcer Round Version
    483 Examples Distributed

    1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Round MS65 NGC. The Panama-Pacific International Exposition was a World's Fair event, held to commemorate the opening of the Panama Canal and the recovery of San Francisco after the great earthquake of 1906. 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 Exposition. Numismatic entrepreneur Farran Zerbe conceived this unprecedented program of commemorative coinage, with the set consisting of two fifty dollar gold pieces, round and octagonal versions, a quarter eagle, a gold dollar, and a silver half dollar. The coins were initially offered individually, or in sets, with the sets displayed in velvet-lined black leatherette cases. More purchasing options were offered later to improve lagging sales, including sets encased in elaborate glass-fronted copper frames from Shreve & Co., a local jewelry firm. Heritage Auctions is privileged to offer a spectacular Gem representative of the scarcer round fifty dollar piece in this important lot.

    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. The reverse features her companion owl (wisdom), 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. The set was purchased by a single collector for a total price of $200. Recent sales of the round Pan-Pac fifty include the MS65 PCGS specimen in lot 6123 of our January 2017 FUN Signature, which realized $188,000.

    The present coin is an attractive Gem, with sharp definition on all design elements and lightly textured lemon-yellow and rose-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. Census: 63 in 65 (5 in 65+, 4 in 65 , 1 in 65+ ), 24 finer (3/19).(Registry values: N10218)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# BYLU, PCGS# 7451)

    Weight: 83.59 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2019
    25th-28th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 20
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,716

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

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