CURRENT BID: $49,000
1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Octagonal MS62+ NGC….
$49,000w/ Buyer’s Premium (BP) : $58,800.00
Status: No Reserve
Top of Form
1915-S Pan-Pac Octagonal Fifty, MS62+
Iconic Tribute to the California Gold Rush
1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Octagonal MS62+ NGC.
The first Panama-Pacific fifty-dollar gold pieces were struck on June 15, 1915, in a special ceremony in the basement of the San Francisco Mint, on a large medal press that had been shipped from Philadelphia for just that purpose. In attendance for the first striking were various government representatives, Pan-Pac Expo and American Numismatic Association officials, as well as select VIPs from foreign governments. The August 1915 issue of The Numismatist related a statement made by Mint Superintendent T.W.H. Shanahan immediately before striking the first coin:
“‘In commemoration of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition and pursuant to the Act of Congress approved January 16, 1915, as Superintendent of the Mint, I am about to strike the first $50 coin ever issued under authority of the law of the United States. The issue is limited to 3000 pieces:
one-half octagonal and one-half round. The design is:
Obverse: Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, handicrafts, inventions, arts, and sciences — UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — $50.00 MCMXV. In field, IN GOD WE TRUST. Reverse: The Owl, sacred to Minerva, the symbol of wisdom, perched upon a branch of western pine. PANAMA-PACIFIC EXPOSITION, SAN FRANCISCO. In the field, E PLURIBUS UNUM. The designer’s initials, R.A. The San Francisco Mint mark, the letter S. The dolphins occupying the angles of the octagonal coin and encircling the central field, suggest the uninterrupted water route made possible by the Panama Canal. It is said that the motives used in these designs were selected by the sculptor, Robert Aitken, because of their simple dignity and far-reaching significance, as well as for their decorative patterns. The coin should be of peculiar interest to all Californians as the sentiment involved relates not only to commemorating the greatest of world expositions, but also brings to mind the historic fifty-dollar slug of pioneer days. In passing and approving the Act providing for this coinage, the Congress and the President have given a rare and exclusive tribute to California and the Exposition. I now strike the first piece.'”
The first pieces struck were, fittingly, of the Octagonal variant. By the end of June, 609 pieces had been coined for distribution to fair goers, through the front of Farran Zerbe’s Money of the World exhibit. Eventually, all 1,500 Octagonal coins authorized by Congress were struck, but just 645 were ever sold, due in part to the high purchase price of the coins ($100 apiece, and in various sets). Today, Pan-Pac fifties are frequently seen at auction, and yet their appeal continues on unhindered.
This is a pleasing, Plus-graded example, showing a bold strike and satiny straw-gold luster. A few light hairlines are evident beneath a loupe, and these limit the numeric grade, but to the naked eye, this is an excellent representative of the most iconic issue in the classic commemorative series.(Registry values: P7)
Weight: 83.59 grams
Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper