thatcoinguy's Blog

13 Aug 2022

1915-S Panama Pacific Octagonal $50 Gold Piece

Coins-United States | thatcoinguy

The Panama Pacific Octagonal $50 Gold Piece is one of my most favorite coins of all time. It ranks 17th in the third edition of "100 Greatest United States Coins." I have loved ever since first sight, and one day I hope to own one, even if it takes me 50 years to save up enough, which it probably will!

This coin was sold to commemorate the Panama-Pacific Exposition, which celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal.

There was also a round version of the $50 gold, a quarter eagle gold piece, a dollar gold piece, and a silver half dollar. These coins could be bought as singles or in different combinations, the biggest being a set of two of each coin in a copper and glass frame. Not many were sold, and only 645 octagonal pieces escaped the melting pot. If you wanted to buy these when they first came out, they were sold for double face value, which is a bargain considering their record prices today.

No other coins had been denominated $50 before (excluding patterns), and only when the American Eagle Gold Bullion series came out in 1986 was the $50 denomination revived on coinage. This coin is the only US coin to date that is not round, and if you ever have the extreme pleasure and opportunity to hold one, it weighs a whopping 83.59 grams. The coins were minted at the San Francisco Mint. They w]are very difficult to locate in high grades due to their heavy and soft composition of gold, and the majority of pieces grade MS-63, with four grading MS-66, and the top pop of one in MS-66+.

Keep collecting,




Level 7

I'm sorry I missed this but it was buried in a bunch of blogs. I and many of us would love to own one of these. I have never seen one. That would be good enough for me! Great information and good research. Thanks glad I found it!! Keep up the great work.

Long Beard

Level 5

I actually saw, and held, one at last fall's PAN show. Graded PCGS AU58 and priced at $37,000. Needless to say that's as close as I'll probably ever get to one. Great blog on a historic coin.


Level 5

Yeah, this was kind of a pioneer coin. A picture of it would be great for people who have never seen it before too.

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