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 gold $50 slug, MS-66
The octagonal Panama-Pacific International Exposition gold $50
“slugs” are show-stoppers for collectors and noncollectors alike. Two
types of gold $50 pieces designed by Robert I. Aitken were minted in
1915 at the San Francisco Mint: round and octagonal. Of the two, the
octagonal is more common with a distribution of 645 pieces, versus 483
round examples. The 1915 cost of $100 per coin was prohibitive to all
but the wealthiest buyers and though 1,500 of each type were struck,
many were melted due to tepid demand.
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Today there is massive demand for both types, which are rarely found
in top Gem grades since many were purchased by noncollectors and
subsequently handled. On Jan. 5 Heritage offered an octagonal example
graded Mint State 66 by Professional Coin Grading Service — one of the
finest known — that sold for $199,750.
Analyzing more Pan-Pac items sold at FUN:
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.
Multiple hues grace this 1915
Pac-Pan commemorative half dollar sold at FUN:
Examples often showcase beautiful rainbow toning that highlights
Charles Barber’s pretty obverse and George Morgan’s handsome reverse design.