Coin Specifications

Category: Gold Commemoratives (1903-1926)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 6,749
Catalog: KM-137
Obverse Designer: Charles E. Barber
Reverse Designer: George T. Morgan
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 4.1800g
AGW: 0.1209oz
Melt Value: $127.91 (11/27/2015)
Diameter: 18mm
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1915 S PANAMA-PACIFIC $2.5 MS obverse 1915 S PANAMA-PACIFIC $2.5 MS reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

The Panama Canal, which remains one of the engineering marvels of the modern age, was completed in August of 1914. To celebrate this achievement, Congress authorized the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915. This Expo, held in San Francisco, was also a celebration of the city’s recovery from the devastating earthquake of 1906. In addition to the expo, Congress authorized a series of commemorative coins honoring the exposition. These were to include a half dollar, gold dollar, $2.5 gold piece, and two different $50 gold pieces; one round, and one octagonal. The bill authorizing these issues was signed into law on January 16, 1915.

Mint sculptors Charles E. Barber and George T. Morgan were tasked with designing the coin’s obverse and reverse, respectively. Barber’s design for the obverse depicts an allegorical figure—the goddess Columbia—astride a hippocampus, a Greek mythological sea horse with the head and forequarters of a horse and the tail of a fish. In her hand is a caduceus, the symbol of the medical profession, signifying the strides against yellow fever that had helped make the canal’s construction possible. The date is below this portrait; above it, along the rim, is the inscription PANAMA-PACIFIC EXPOSITION. The reverse depicts a left-facing American eagle perched atop a plaque on which is inscribed the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM. Below this is the statement of value—2 ½ DOL.—and above it, along the rim, is UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

The quarter eagles were struck (as were all the Panama-Pacific Exposition coins) at the San Francisco Mint. Although the maximum mintage of 10,000 coins was produced, 3,251 coins remained unsold and we melted, leaving a net mintage of just 6,749 coins.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 6/8/2015

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Total Graded: 1982
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 64
High Grade: 67

Upcoming Auctions

A random selection of NGC coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
12/6/2015 XF 45   Heritage Auctions 2015 December 3 - 6 Houston Money Show US Coins Signature Auction - Houston Session(2), 1227/Lot# 4050

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
2/22/1997 NGC MS 64   Heritage Auctions February 1997 Long Beach Bullet Sale #167, 167/Lot# 1030 $1,980.00
7/19/2004 PCGS MS 64   Teletrade Auction 1911, 1911/Lot# 1969 $3,630.00
3/6/2006 NGC MS 64   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 77, 82/Lot# 1176 $885.50
5/28/2006 PCGS MS 67   Goldberg May 28-31, 2006 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 36/Lot# 4229 $17,825.00
5/30/2010 PCGS MS 66   Bonhams Coins, Medals, and Banknotes, 18301/Lot# 2140 $6,727.00
6/8/2014 PCGS MS 66   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 06/08/2014, 202/Lot# 198723 $7,425.00
10/30/2014 PCGS MS 64   Stack's Bowers November Baltimore 2014, 6039/Lot# 4480 $4,553.13
10/30/2014 PCGS   Stack's Bowers November Baltimore 2014, 6039/Lot# 4482 $1,175.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1915 S PANAMA-PACIFIC $2.5 MS
Competitive Registry Sets
Gold Commemoratives 1903-1926 85
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 67
Points: 11603
Owner: RDN
Grade: MS 65
Points: 4361
Owner: Dr. B K
View the Registry Image Gallery

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