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    Description

    1915-S Panama-Pacific Fifty Dollar, MS66
    Scarce Round Variant, Only 483 Coins Distributed
    From One of Six or Seven Known Double Sets

    1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Round MS66 NGC. "Pride and profit" were the words used by Panama-Pacific International Exposition Company President Charles C. Moore upon the striking of the first fifty dollar gold coins in June 1915. Pride related to the commemoration of the PPIE through the production of these impressive gold coins, and profit, logically, referenced the substantial premium they would carry.

    Farran Zerbe, the famous numismatic marketer and former ANA president, was hired by the Mint to sell its official coin and medal products through his Money of the World exhibit in the Palace of Liberal Arts. Single examples of the 1915-S fifty dollar in Round or Octagonal format were available for $100. Probably 340 or so Round fifties were distributed this way. Zerbe also promoted five-coin sets. They included an example of each distinct commemorative coin issued for the exposition and were sold for $200 per set. Bowers suggests 300 such sets were sold. Finally, Zerbe produced about a dozen 10-coin double sets that featured the obverse and reverse of each commemorative offering. It is believed roughly six such sets were sold for the astronomical sum of $400. This was at a time when the average union laborer in San Francisco was making about $20 to $30 per week.

    Ultimately, the sky-high pricing structure for these hefty gold pieces had a significant impact on dampening sales, and therefore profit. Only 483 of the 1,500 Round fifties authorized were sold. Although that equates to a profit of roughly $24,000, it is considerably lower than the $75,000 Mint officials were hoping to make. Net profit is further reduced when one factors in costs associated with hiring Zerbe and shipping a 14-ton hydraulic press from Philadelphia to San Francisco expressly for the purpose of striking these coins.

    Disappointing sales may or may not have diminished the pride Mint or Panama-Pacific Exposition officials took in the issuance of these coins. Were they alive today, however, they certainly would be delighted by the attention these impressive gold commemoratives receive and the prices they achieve, especially when found this fine.

    Strike definition is pinpoint-sharp throughout this gleaming wheat-gold Premium Gem with broad rims, intricate detail on Minerva's helmet, and crisp pine cones. Scintillating mint frost radiates over exceptionally clean surfaces. The only apparent tick is a mark on the upper cheek. Otherwise, grade-limiting imperfections are virtually unseen. The quality of this offering is nearly unsurpassed, and its pedigree should excite even the most seasoned numismatists. Census: 19 in 66 (1 in 66 ), 4 finer (10/17).
    From The Cherry Grove Collection. (Registry values: N14284) (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 Cherry Grove Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2018
    3rd-8th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 21
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 841

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