US Coins

1915-S Panama-Pacific appeals to eye: Market Analysis

One could buy four average MS-66 1915-S Panama-Pacific International Exposition commemorative half dollars for the huge $11,750 that this MS-66 CAC example sold for at Heritage’s CSNS sale.

Image Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

Especially for Mint State and Proof coins, eye appeal is an essential component of a coin’s grade. Grading services like Professional Coin Grading Service have informal ranges that they use to evaluate toning from amazing — for a coin that screams “Wow!” — to neutral for average coins, to ugly for unfortunately toned pieces. Great toning may elevate the grade of a coin by a grade point, just as ugly toning may take a point or two off. Here is one handsome half dollar from Heritage’s recent Central States Numismatic Society auctions. How would you evaluate its toning?

The Coin 

1915-S Panama-Pacific International Expo half dollar

The Price 


The Story 

Falling squarely in the “wow” category is this 1915-S Panama-Pacific International Exposition commemorative half dollar in PCGS MS-66 CAC that sold for $11,750 on April 24. The vibrant color that is present on both sides is described as “Iridescent and comprehensive ocean-blue, honey-gold, and ruby-red.”

For perspective, comparably graded examples with a CAC sticker have sold at the $2,800 to $3,000 level in recent auctions. At Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ Feb. 6 Americana Sale, a PCGS MS-67 CAC example sold for $6,462.50, which makes the five-figure price that the CSNS example brought seem even more impressive.

Community Comments