Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    1915-S Panama-Pacific Fifty Dollar, MS64
    Iconic Octagonal Form, 645 Pieces Distributed
    Designed by Sculptor Robert Aitken

    1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Octagonal MS64 NGC. If San Francisco sculptor Robert Aitken was not widely known outside of artistic circles before the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, he certainly was afterward. Aitken was one of the artists chosen to participate in the fair, and he produced a number of works in addition to the designs he would create for the Mint's fifty dollar gold pieces.

    Perhaps Aitken's most prominent contribution was a series of four sculptures called The Four Elements, placed at the top of the main staircase leading to the gardens in front of the Court of the Universe. Alexander Stirling Calder, himself an acclaimed sculptor, described the work: "In spite of their imaginative themes, these massive works have the same gripping reality that characterizes all the later method of this sculptor."

    Aitken also created The Fountain of Earth, which was placed at the center of the Court of Abundance. This work was composed of several smaller allegorical figures that symbolized "a conception of life with its sorrows, joys, hopes, and tragedies; its bright and its dark side ... ." When the National Sculpture Society exhibited the fountain in Buffalo, they wrote:

    " 'The Fountain of Earth' by Robert Aitken has compelled the attention of the world of art and won the gold medal of honor in sculpture awarded by the Architectural League of New York in 1915. In this fountain, Aitken expresses the idea of man's profound significance. In general it shows the development and growth of love from its lower to higher forms and the upward effect of that spiritualization upon the life of the earth."


    In this same vein, Aitken was able to convey the rebirth of the city of San Francisco after the earthquake and fire of 1906, the completion of the Panama Canal, and the industrial and agricultural might of the state California through a form that harkened back to the days of the Gold Rush -- a large Octagonal fifty dollar gold coin. Unlike Aitken's other sculptural works, these "slugs" are available to present-day numismatists, art historians, and other likeminded enthusiasts.

    A total of 645 Octagonal coins were distributed in 1915. Many of them survive, although in varying states of preservation. Seldom are examples offered as fine as this near-Gem, and higher-graded representatives are rare. Few marks appear over finely textured yellow-gold surfaces that show original reddish accents. The relief elements are strongly brought-up, and we can see only a few thin lines on Minerva's cheek and a tick near the owl's eye that limit the grade. This is a tremendous example of one of the most popular designs in American coinage.(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# BYHP, PCGS# 7452)

    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
    September, 2018
    6th-9th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 29
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,421

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

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

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    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
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 3 days left to consign to the 2019 January 9 - 14 FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Orlando !

    Learn about consigning with us

    I was very pleased when you handled the sale of my husband’s coin collection.
    Victoria L.,
    San Gabriel, CA
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    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 $6,737,355
    2018 September 6 - 11 Long Beach Expo World Coins & Ancient Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach
    2018 September 6 - 11 Long Beach Expo World Coins & Ancient Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach
    REALIZED $5,872,792
    2018 November 7 - 10 Eric P. Newman Collection Part X Currency Signature Auction - Dallas
    2018 November 7 - 10 Eric P. Newman Collection Part X Currency Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $634,433