Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 44

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Lot 2739

1915-S. Panama-Pacific International Exposition Set. Set in the original box of issue with paperwork. The set contains: a silver half dollar,a $1 gold, a $2.5 gold, a $50 octagonal gold, and a $50 round gold. Coins will grade from MS60-MS65. An outstanding set by all measures, the silver half dollar is naturally toned to a medium antique silver hue by its long residence in the velvet-lined box. The luster on these varies somewhat from frost on the dollar to more satiny surface on the half dollar and the two $50 pieces, while the $2.50 has a characteristic unique on a gold commemorative in having fine raised swirl lines in the fields. This was expressly done when the dies were prepared for striking.

The five thematic coins issued for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition stand at the apex of American commemoratives. In all, 60,000 half dollars were coined, of which 34 were kept back for assay. Of the 59,966 pieces available, 27,100 were eventually sold while the remainder were destroyed later at the Mint. 25,034 gold dollars were coined, of which 34 were used for assay and the balance all sold. 10,017 $2.50 gold pieces were struck, of which 17 were set aside for assay, leaving 10,000 available. Of these there were 6,750 sold and the rest were melted.

Turning next to the two prestige denominations in the set, there were 1,509 of the octagonal $50 pieces made, of which nine were used for assay, 646 were actually sold and the remainder went to the melting pot. There were 1,510 round $50 pieces including 10 for assay. Just 483 were sold.

All the Pan-Pacific coins were struck at the San Francisco Mint and bear the "S" mintmark. For the coining of the massive $50 pieces an hydraulic press weighing 14 tons, with a striking power of 450 tons, ordinarily used at the Philadelphia Mint for the minting of medals, was shipped by rail to the San Francisco Mint.

The octagonal $50 gold piece, the largest coin ever authorized by Congress, and the first minted since 1852 of any other shape than round, was made a prominent occasion at the mint.

Prices were as follows: half dollars, $1 each or six for $5. Gold dollars, $2 each, or six for $10. $2.50 gold pieces, $4 each, or six for $20. $50 gold pieces, either shape, $100 each. Complete sets that were mounted in leather cases sold for $200. That both shapes of the $50 pieces were of similar design was probably done as an economy measure.

In the years since the close of the Panama-Pacific Exposition, these commemoratives have become highly prized by numismatists. Today, the large and impressive $50 coins are especially admired, and it is always an occasion when a set in the original plush-line box cross the auction block. Lot of 5 coins.
Estimated Value $100,000 - 115,000.

Realized $138,000

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