Coin Specifications

Category: Gold Commemoratives (1903-1926)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 15,000
Catalog: KM-136
Obverse Designer: Charles Keck
Reverse Designer: Charles Keck
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 1.6720g
AGW: 0.0484oz
Melt Value: $51.79 (11/25/2015)
Diameter: 15mm
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1915 S PANAMA-PACIFIC G$1 MS obverse 1915 S PANAMA-PACIFIC G$1 MS reverse

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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.

Charles Keck, a well-known New York sculptor, was tapped to design the gold dollar. While his initial design depicted the Greek God of the Sea Poseidon, this was rejected as too detailed for the obverse of such a small coin. In the end, Keck went with the left-facing profile view of a typical Panama Canal laborer. The man is facing the two line inscription UNITED STATES OF / AMERICA, and the date is placed below his chin. As for the reverse, the statement of value ONE DOLLAR is the central device, with dolphins above and below. This was meant to symbolize the joining of two oceans by the canal. This is encircled around the rim by the words PANAMA PACIFIC EXPOSITION–SAN FRANCISCO.

The dollars were struck (as were all the Panama-Pacific Exposition coins) at the San Francisco Mint in 1915. The entire 25,000 maximum mintage was struck, but not all were sold. Even though the design was well-received, fair-goers balked at the $2 price, and 10,000 of the pieces ended up in melting pots. This left a net mintage of 15,000 coins for the issue.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 3/30/2015

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Total Graded: 3712
Low Grade: VF
Average Grade: 63
High Grade: 67

Upcoming Auctions

A random selection of NGC coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
12/6/2015 MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2015 December 3 - 6 Houston Money Show US Coins Signature Auction - Houston Session(4), 1227/Lot# 8428
12/6/2015 MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2015 December 3 - 6 Houston Money Show US Coins Signature Auction - Houston Session(4), 1227/Lot# 8426

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
6/10/2000 PCGS MS 62   Heritage Auctions 2000 June Long Beach Signature Sale #230, 230/Lot# 7475 $345.00
9/19/2005 PCGS MS 64   Goldberg September 19-21, 2005 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 32/Lot# 2614 $2,587.50
7/8/2007 PCGS MS 66   Heritage Auctions Sunday Internet Coin Auction #67073, 67073/Lot# 23387 $2,645.00
1/17/2011 PCGS MS 63   Teletrade Auction 2997, 2997/Lot# 1879 $690.00
9/4/2011 PCGS MS 64   Bonhams Coins and Medals, 19251/Lot# 1351 $702.00
4/1/2014 PCGS MS 64   Stack's Bowers March 2014 Baltimore Auction, 6008/Lot# 8486 $646.25
6/8/2014 NGC MS 66   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 807, 816/Lot# 7280 $6,650.00
8/31/2014 PCGS MS 64   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 08/31/2014, 189/Lot# 216578 $210.00
8/31/2014 NGC   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 08/31/2014, 189/Lot# 168452 $360.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1915 S PANAMA-PACIFIC G$1 MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 66
Points: 2936
Owner: *00001AAA Coins
Grade: MS 66
Points: 2936
Owner: davidmckay
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NGC Certifies Finest Set of Gold Commems

9/1/2004  — A complete set of United States gold commemorative coins has been graded and encapsulated by NGC. It includes several finest certified pieces.
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