Coin Specifications

Category: Silver Commemoratives (1892-1954)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 27,134
Obverse Designer: Charles Barber
Reverse Designer: George T. Morgan
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5000g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $8.17 (9/26/2021)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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1915 S PANAMA-PACIFIC 50C MS obverse 1915 S PANAMA-PACIFIC 50C 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 2 different $50 gold pieces. The bill authorizing these issues was signed into law on January 16, 1915.

The half dollar’s obverse was designed by U.S. Mint Chief Engraver Charles Barber. Whereas most of his designs were usually old fashioned and static, he actually produced a very aesthetically pleasing and artistic obverse. It depicts the figure of Columbia scattering flowers from a cornucopia held by a cherub. Encircling the periphery is the inscription PANAMA-PACIFIC EXPOSITION. The San Francisco mintmark (S) is located to the left of the date.

Barber’s assistant George T. Morgan was selected to design the reverse. Unfortunately, Morgan did little more than modify the eagle reverse he used on the silver dollar first struck in 1878. The bird is perched on top of the Union shield. To its left is an oak branch, symbolizing stability, and to the right is an olive branch, symbolizing peace. The legends UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and HALF DOLLAR surround the border, while the motto IN GOD WE TRUST appears above the eagle. The olive branch of peace is particularly ironic on a coin struck the year after World War I broke out.

Distribution of the coins was handled by Farran Zerbe, a past American Numismatic Association President and well-known promoter of numismatics. Before the coins were even struck, tens of thousands of the half dollars were already pre-sold at $1 a piece. While the authorized mintage was 200,000, the San Francisco Mint struck a total of 60,000 pieces over the course of the Exposition. Of those, 32,866 remained unsold and were melted. This leaves a net mintage of 27,134 coins for this now scarce and popular commemorative half dollar.

GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 10/31/2018

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

1915 S 50C PANAMA-PACIFIC MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ - - 140 165 215 400 435 460 500 520 535 575 775 1100 2075 3550 8500 52500 - -
$ 245 - - - - - - 615 940 1385 2400 4200 17750 -

NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The prices listed in the various NGC Price and Value Guides are compiled from a number of independent, third party sources in the numismatic community which NGC believes to be reliable. Prices provided are averages, not specific prices for individual coins. Further, because these prices are only updated from time to time, they do not reflect short term pricing trends, which are quite common and are often quite dramatic, given the volatile nature of the collectible coin marketplace. This is especially true for rare coins, where there are fewer sales and greater variations in sale prices. For all of these reasons, the prices in these guides are designed to serve merely as one of many measures and factors that coin buyers and sellers can use in determining coin values. These prices are not intended, and should not be relied upon, to replace the due diligence and — when appropriate — expert consultation that coin buyers and sellers should undertake when entering into a coin transaction. As such, NGC disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in the NGC Guides. By using the NGC Guides, the user agrees that neither NGC nor any of its affiliates, shareholders, officers, employees or agents shall have any liability for any loss or damage of any kind, including without limitation any loss arising from reliance on the information contained in the Guides.

Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 2799
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 63
High Grade: 68

The chart showing PrAg series, G series, VG series, F series, VF series, 40 series, 45 series, 50 series, 53 series, 55 series, 58 series, 60 series, 61 series, 62 series, 63 series, 64 series, 65 series, 66 series, 67 series, 68 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 9/21/2021 1915 S 50C PANAMA-PACIFIC MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base1-1171081111431271342784621022495237491--2799
---------------21611---20
---------------8164----28
------------------3---3
Total1-1171081111431271342784621032512247631--2850
 0%-0%0%0%0%0%0%0%2%4%0%1%10%16%36%18%9%2%0%-- 

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1915 S 50C PANAMA-PACIFIC MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base3724044394775396537159901044108111381166118612391477179925103260521297561703030021
383416452498577674807100810561100114711731204131815842036276039116727121812136031522
0000008071008105611001147117312041318158420362760391167271218100
0000008981026106911191157117912211398169222733010456182411460500
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 67
Points: 6727
Owner: Gregg Bingham
 
Grade: MS 67
Points: 5666
Owner: Chippewa
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The auction prices realized listed in the NGC Auction Central are compiled from a number of independent, third party sources in the numismatic community which NGC believes to be reliable. The auction data listed by NGC may occasionally contain typographical or input errors that can result in incorrect prices realized appearing on the NGC website. Therefore, the prices realized listed in NGC Auction Central are designed to serve merely as one of many measures and facts that coin buyers and sellers can use in determining coin values. These prices are not intended, and should not be relied upon, to replace the due diligence and – when appropriate – expert consultation that coin buyers and sellers should undertake when entering into a coin transaction. As such, NGC disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in the NGC Auction Central. By using the NGC Auction Central, the user agrees that neither NGC nor any of its affiliates, shareholders, officers, employees or agents shall have any liability for any loss or damage of any kind, including without limitation any loss arising from reliance on the information contained in the NGC Auction Central.