Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 44

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Lot 2742

1915-S Panama-Pacific Gold $50 Octagonal. NGC graded MS-62. Wonderful rich golden toning on both sides. Elusive and quite costly as so few were distributed at the time of issue, this choice example is free of noticeable abrasions. The toning is especially attractive. The strike, while always full, shows clear detail in the stylized leafy branch on the helmet as well as Minerva's cascading hair, and both sides reveal splendid surface preservation. On the $50 octagonal only, there are 8 dolphins on each side inserted between the outer edge and inner circular border.

Imagine the advances in technology which had to be met before these massive 2-1/2 ounce gold pieces could be struck. The Philadelphia Mint's fourteen-ton medal press was shipped by train and set up at the San Francisco facility for the striking ceremonies for the Panama-Pacific $50 gold pieces. It is claimed this press could strike a coin with a pressure of 450 tons per square inch. By comparison, Morgan Silver Dollars required no more than 150 to 170 tons of force. This medal press struck 1,500 of each $50 gold piece, for a total 3,000 coins or nearly 7,500 ounces (value today at $800 an ounce = $60,000,000). Unfortunately, there were few takers at the $100-per-coin asking price and so only 645 Octagonal and 483 Round 'fifties were sold. The overage was melted (PCGS # 7452) .
Estimated Value $50,000 - 55,000.

Realized $54,625

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