Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    1915-S Round Pan-Pac Fifty, MS64
    Time-Tested Key to the Classic Commemoratives

    1915-S $50 Round MS64 NGC. Robert Aitken's designs for the renowned Pan-Pac fifty dollar gold commemoratives were not his only contribution to the San Francisco-based Panama-Pacific International Exposition, but they are the most remembered by numismatists. Aitken was also one of many notable artists of the period who were commissioned to design non-numismatic sculptures for display throughout the exposition grounds. Hermon MacNeil, Adolph Weinman, and John Flanagan -- all future fellow coin designers -- were among the participating sculptors.

    Aitken's sculptural work in particular was highly symbolic and powerful. One of his sculptures, The Elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, was on display at the top of the main staircase in the Court of the Universe. Stella G.S. Perry, in The Sculpture and Murals of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition Official Handbook, writes of this work: "These titantic [sic], symbolic figures of the Elements show the sweep, precision and realism that this sculptor can so well combine with poetic imagery."

    Aitken's use of "poetic imagery" is also fully displayed on the round and octagonal fifty dollar gold pieces that were issued as souvenirs for the exposition. The obverse features Minerva, mythological goddess of wisdom and commerce, while the reverse shows an owl, Minerva's ever-present companion and symbol of wisdom, upon a branch of Western pine -- all classically rendered with a Roman numeral date. The corners on each side of the octagonal version depict dolphins, symbolic of the international waterway created by completion of the Panama Canal, while the round variant has the central motifs pushing the peripheral legends all the way to the rims.

    Each variety of the coin was given a mintage of 1,500 pieces, but most of these were later melted as unsold. The Pan-Pac fifties could be purchased in sets with other denomination commemoratives, but unfortunately for sales, even individual purchase of one of these "slugs" cost $100 -- no small sum in 1915. By the end of the distribution period, only 645 octagonal and 483 round coins were sold. The round variant is understandably the scarcer of the two today. This example is well-preserved and eye-appealing. As with the Pan-Pac quarter eagle, the Pan-Pac fifties were struck with very faint, parallel and swirling die lines in the fields, which give this near-Gem its satiny golden luster. A loupe reveals a few minor lines on Minerva's cheek that define the grade.(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.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    Calculate Standard Domestic Shipping

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

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2016
    7th-10th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,355

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

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

    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
    Consign to the 2019 April 24 - 30 Central States World Coins Signature Auction - Chicago.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Thank you so much, everything went great with Heritage selling the coins.
    Frankie F.,
    North Bergen, NJ
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2018 November 8 - 11 US Coins Signature Auction - Dallas
    2018 November 8 - 11 US Coins Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $6,735,105
    2018 December 6 - 7 HKINF World Coins Signature Auction - Hong Kong
    2018 December 6 - 7 HKINF World Coins Signature Auction - Hong Kong
    REALIZED SO FAR $3,312,394
    2018 December 5 - 7 HKINF World Currency Signature Auction - Hong Kong
    2018 December 5 - 7 HKINF World Currency Signature Auction - Hong Kong
    REALIZED SO FAR $1,814,223