Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 63

Lot 1884

1915-S Panama-Pacific $50 Octagonal. PCGS graded MS-65 CAC Approved. Rich golden mint bloom color adds to its appeal. A gorgeous Premium Quality example confirmed by CAC. Only 645 struck. One of only a handful of Gem quality examples of this massive coin we offer bidders this time around. A satiny specimen with strong fundamental luster and gleaming fresh surfaces throughout. Boldly struck, too, in fact totally so -- with such strikingly full devices on both side that special mention is merited. Indeed, the design detail of the present coin easily rivals that of a higher-grade specimen.

During preparations for the Panama-Pacific Exposition's opening, the Philadelphia Mint shipped a 14-ton hydraulic press to the fairgrounds for the specific purpose of striking these large $50 gold pieces. (Research has not been able to ascertain how they managed it: probably the press went disassembled by ship.)

On June 15, the first octagonal pieces were struck at a ceremony which attracted VIP's from all over the country. This had been arranged by Farran Zerbe, then possibly the best known numismatist in the country. Zerbe had the political influence to have himself put in charge of the Exposition's Coin and Medal Department, which was named in the authorizing act as responsible for distributing the commemorative coins. Zerbe set up his own collection (over 20,000 specimens after he included additions) in a trellised display area of the Palace of Liberal Arts on the Exposition grounds labeling it Zerbe's Unique Money of the World. It became one of the more popular displays, and the Panama-Pacific Commemorative coins, each with its own story appended, were probably seen by several million visitors between the Exposition's opening February 20 and its close on December 4, 1915. Pop 18; 1 in 66 (PCGS # 7452) .
Estimated Value $120,000 - 130,000.

Realized $132,250

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