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    Description

    Near-Gem 1915-S Panama-Pacific Octagonal
    With Tremendous Eye Appeal
    Only 18 Finer at PCGS

    1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Octagonal MS64 PCGS. An absolute rarity in all grades, the 1915-S Panama-Pacific octagonal fifty dollar is among the lowest-mintage type coins produced at the U.S. Mint in the last century. In fact, it is second in rarity only to its sibling, the Pan-Pac round, which is usually collected as a separate type issue. The authorizing legislation for the two issues enabled a maximum production of 1,500 coins each for the round and octagonal, but the unusual design of the octagonal apparently appealed to a greater number of buyers. The net distribution of the octagonal was accordingly only 645 coins, while the net distribution of its round counterpart was an even more minuscule 483 pieces.
    Both in their geographic origin and their design, the Pan-Pac octagonals hearken back to the California Gold Rush-era fifty dollar "slugs" dated 1851 and 1852, produced by Augustus Humbert and the U.S. Assay Office of Gold. The coins' unusual shape as well as their historic link with the Old West apparently formed part of their original appeal, which continues to this day. Few contemporary collectors, however, could afford the $100 price tag (each) for the coins, which nonetheless did entitle the buyers to obtain the other four commemorative issues for nothing.
    While the Pan-Pac octagonals did not circulate, unlike their hard-used forebears from the Gold Rush, they do share some characteristics with the earlier issues. As with all large gold coins, they are subject to abrasions on their broad faces, a consideration that can downgrade some otherwise attractive examples. And both octagonal types, from the 19th and 20th centuries, are often found with edge or rim bumps that can disqualify an example from grading, if sufficiently severe.
    The present coin shows even orange-gold coloration throughout, with the tremendous eye appeal expected of a near-Gem example of this most-impressive gold commemorative. Extremely minor slide marks appear only under a magnifier on Minerva's (Athena's) face. Those and a single contact mark on the helmet are all that keep the coin from an even finer grade.
    Even though Heritage is privileged to offer a number of Pan-Pac fifties in the present sale, opportunities to acquire specimens so fine are fleeting: PCGS has certified only 18 specimens in finer grades, with the usual caveat about duplications. Astute numismatists should proceed accordingly.(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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    Apr-May, 2010
    28th-2nd Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,643

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