US Coins

Market Analysis: Hubs trial strikes for Pan-Pac $50

A copper obverse and reverse hubs trial for the octagonal 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition $50 commemorative coin graded Specimen 65 red sold for $168,000 on April 23.

All images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Certainly one of the largest pieces in the collection of Texas businessman Bob R. Simpson in Heritage’s April 23 auction in Dallas was his 1915 octagonal Panama-Pacific International Exposition obverse and reverse hubs trial, struck on a large, round copper planchet.

Listed as Judd A1915-3 in the pattern reference, presumably unique, and graded Specimen 65 by Professional Coin Grading Service with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker, the impressive piece mirroring the design used on the gold $50 commemorative issues sold for $168,000.

The cataloger explains, “The impression was taken from the hubs used to impress the die and not the die itself,” so, like a die, “this piece shows the mirror image of the devices that actually appear on the coins.”

It was purchased by commemorative coin expert and former American Numismatic Association president Anthony Swiatek from Sol Kaplan at a 1971 Ohio coin show and remained off the market until Heritage sold it at its 2015 Florida United Numismatists auction where it realized $99,875. The next year it would be offered at Bonhams where it went unsold at an estimate of $160,000 to $180,000.

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