By all accounts the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, held in
San Francisco from Feb. 20 to Dec. 4, 1915, was magnificent.
The fair celebrated the completion of the Panama Canal, but also
served as a very public display of the city’s recovery after a
devastating 1906 earthquake. Like the 1892 World’s Columbian
Exposition in Chicago, the buildings built for the San Francisco
exposition were constructed with temporary materials so most of the
buildings are long gone, but the fair lives on through classic
Here is one of three sold during Heritage's 2017 FUN auctions that
we profile in this Market Analysis:
1915-S Panama-Pacific International Exposition
commemorative half dollar, MS-67, CAC
Among the five denominations and six coins issued for the 1915
Panama-Pacific International Exposition — the two gold $50 pieces, a
gold $2.50 quarter eagle, a gold dollar, and a silver half dollar —
the latter is the most common, with a mintage of 27,134 coins.
Examples were sold at the fair for $1, making them a relatively
affordable souvenir. Still, as with the gold $50 pieces, many more
were struck than actually sold. Of the 60,000 half dollars produced,
more than half were melted.
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Examples often showcase beautiful rainbow toning that highlights
Charles Barber’s pretty obverse and George Morgan’s handsome reverse
design. On this one Heritage writes, “At the periphery, a band of
salmon-pink coloration is bordered by thin, successive rings of
sea-green, lavender, and russet toning that flow into a variegated
pool of ice-blue and platinum hues in the center. The reverse is an
even silver-gray tone.”
The Professional Coin Grading Service Mint State 67 stunner, with a
green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker, sold for $29,375, a price
comparable to what MS-68 examples bring. For comparison, Heritage sold
two PCGS MS-67 examples this fall for $4,465 and $4,935.
Analyzing more Pan-Pac items sold at FUN:
Sold for nearly $200,000, this Pan-Pac gold
‘slug’ is a show-stopper:
The octagonal Panama-Pacific International Exposition gold $50
“slugs” are show-stoppers for collectors and noncollectors alike.
What one of the finest known
Pan-Pac gold quarter eagle sold for:
Like the half dollar, the Pan-Pac quarter eagle was a collaboration
between two legends: Charles Barber and George Morgan.