Coin Specifications

Category: Gold Commemoratives (1903-1926)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 15,000
Obverse Designer: Charles Keck
Reverse Designer: Charles Keck
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 1.6720g
AGW: 0.0484oz
Melt Value: $62.00 (10/21/2017)
Diameter: 15mm
Edge: Reeded
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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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$ 510 540 560 585 620 655 675 720 800 1075 1900 3250 9000 -

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Total Graded: 3742
Low Grade: VF
Average Grade: 63
High Grade: 67

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
5/5/2003 PCGS MS 65   Heritage Auctions 2003 May St. Louis, MO (CSNS) Bullet Sale #319, 319/Lot# 1825 $2,127.50
9/19/2005 PCGS MS 64   Goldberg September 19-21, 2005 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 32/Lot# 2614 $2,587.50
10/14/2007 PCGS MS 64   Teletrade Auction 2435, 2435/Lot# 2722 $1,176.00
9/4/2011 PCGS MS 64   Bonhams Coins and Medals, 19251/Lot# 1351 $702.00
11/4/2012 NGC MS 65   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 11/04/2012, 47/Lot# 83042 $1,024.11
3/21/2013 NGC AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2013 March 21 -22 & 24 US Coin Signature Auction - Dallas Session(4), 1183/Lot# 8547 $411.25
6/16/2014 PCGS MS 66   Stack's Bowers iAuciton 3486, 6035/Lot# 20938 $2,408.75
12/28/2014 PCGS MS 64   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 836, 845/Lot# 611 $850.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1915 G$1 MS S PANAMA-PACIFIC
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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