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    1915-S Panama-Pacific Fifty, MS63
    Iconic Octagonal Version
    Only 645 Examples Distributed

    1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Octagonal MS63 NGC. The 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition's stated purpose was to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal. Although organizers saw greater value in using the fair to showcase San Francisco's rebirth after the devastating earthquake and fire of 1906, the opening of the canal on August 15, 1914 remains central to the production of these coins.

    Much can be gleaned about the progress of construction and working life on the canal through The Canal Record, "published weekly free of charge, one copy each, to all employees of The Panama Canal and Panama Railroad Company whose names are on the "gold roll." (More on the "gold roll" later.)

    On the front page of the July 22, 1914 edition, printed just a few weeks before the canal opened, headlines included "Work on Dry Dock No. 2 at Balboa Stopped" and "Preparations for Completing Transmission Lines." Page 3 detailed a deadly explosion that took four lives and injured dozens more, the result of a drill barge accidentally driving into a submerged rock that was being charged with dynamite. Other topics addressed in the weekly covered social matters like the organization of a Christian Endeavour Society, a series of first aid classes for women, public school enrollments, and official circulars containing operational information for workers.

    In many ways, The Canal Record highlights the similarities between day to day life in the Canal Zone versus today. It also underscores the profound social inequalities around race and gender built into the conditions and attitudes of those living and working in the Panama Canal Zone. For example, the "gold roll" mentioned above was reserved for white Americans, meaning non-whites had to pay five cents to obtain this information. Finally, it provides a vivid historical account of the building of the Panama Canal, one of the seven wonders of the modern world.

    These 1915-S Octagonal fifties pay tribute to that engineering marvel. Designer Robert Aitken included dolphins around the periphery to symbolize the "uninterrupted waterway" that would facilitate trade between East and West. Only 645 Octagonal fifties were distributed.

    The present coin is an attractive Select specimen, with sharply detailed design elements throughout. The textured orange-gold surfaces are lightly marked, with no mentionable distractions. Especially vibrant mint luster adds to the outstanding eye appeal. Part of a five-piece Pan-Pac set, with the coins offered in consecutive lots in this catalog.(Registry values: P7)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# BYLX, PCGS# 7452)

    Weight: 83.59 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2019
    17th-24th Thursday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 18
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,596

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