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$50 1915-S Pan-Pac Round Gold Commemorative NGC MS66+

2022-12-29 23:52:00
$50 1915-S Pan-Pac Round Gold Commemorative NGC MS66+

$50 1915-S Pan-Pac Round Gold Commemorative NGC MS66+

On August 15, 1914, after nearly 240 million cubic yards of rock and dirt were excavated and 3.4 million cubic meters of concrete was laid the Panama Canal officially opened with a complete cost of more than $350 million, making it the most expensive construction project in U.S. history to that point.

In 1915, San Francisco hosted the Panama-Pacific Exposition to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal and to commemorate the event the United States mint struck a variety of coins in silver and gold, including a Gold Dollar, $2.5 Gold, $50 Gold Octagonal and $50 Gold Round.

Apart from patterns and semi-official Territorial gold coins, the United States had never produced a $50 gold piece to this point and would not there after until modern American Gold Eagles were struck in 1986. This also marked the first an only time the U.S. Mint struck an octagonal piece.

Certainly, the most rare and valuable of the group and early gold commemoratives were the $50 Gold Round and Octagonal as the Mint struck 1509 Octagonal and 1510 Round pieces for the Exposition but because of the high cost of the coins and sets very few actually sold.

Of the 1509 $50 Gold Octagonals only 645 were sold to the public and even fewer of the $50 Gold Rounds were sold as less than a third were purchased with only 483 of the 1510 selling, the remaining coins were destroyed. The $50 Round ranks as one of the great numismatic rarities of the Twentieth Century.

Designed by Robert I. Aitken, the obverse of the $50 Pan-Pac Rounds features the Roman goddess Minerva, patron of wisdom, philosophy, and righteous war with the Roman numerals for 1915  “MCMXV”. The words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FIFTY DOLLARS” surround the design. The reverse depicts an owl, a common symbol of Minerva, perched atop a ponderosa pine tree branch while the inscription “PANAMA-PACIFIC EXPOSITION SAN FRANCISCO” surround the design.

These large gold commemorative coins containing 2.4186 troy ounces of gold each are highly elusive and desirable to collectors due to the low survival rate.