Stack's Bowers - The June 2011 Baltimore Auction Lot #9116

  • PCGS
  • 60
  • CAC
  • N

1915-S Panama-Pacific Exposition $50. Round. MS-60 (PCGS). OGH--Second Generation.

Rare Mint State 1915-S $50 Round Panama-Pacific Exposition Commemorative

The round format of this $50 gold piece is in fact the rarest of the regular issue commemorative coins ever released. A scant total of 483 pieces were sold, with the balance melted soon after the Exposition closed. These were distributed at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915 in San Francisco, or could be ordered through certain numismatic channels by those not attending the event. However, the prohibitive cost of $100 each certainly limited sales. To put this into perspective, a new Model T Ford at the time could be purchased for $500, a contraption clearly more useful than a nice shiny set of commemorative coins! Most typical employees of this time made $2 to $3 per day in wages, so $100 was a formidable sum indeed. If collectors could afford one of these magnificent $50 coins at all, (minted in both octagonal and round formats) most collectors preferred the octagonal design as more dramatic and unusual, hence the octagonal $50s have a slightly higher net mintage. Today, these magnificent coins are considered to be "must haves" for any advanced collection, so demand has never slowed in generations. The present coin has a few faint hairlines on Minerva's helmet and cheek, but the luster is full and complete, the strike sharp and the overall presentation that of a choice example. The owl has one tiny nick low on his breast mentioned for identification.

PCGS#: 7451