1915-S Panama-Pacific 50C silver PCGS MS67. The Pan-Pac half dollar was sold at the Exposition to the public for one dollar. The U.S. mint allowed Farran Zerbe, a former president of the American Numismatic Association, to sell these coins to the general public during the exposition. It wasn’t until January 16, 1915, however, on the very eve of the fair, that Congress finally authorized the coins. The enabling legislation called for a silver half dollar plus gold coins in three denominations: $1, $2.50 and $50. Mintage limits were set at 200,000 for the half dollar, 25,000 for the gold dollar, 10,000 for the quarter eagle and 3,000 for the $50 piece, with these 3,000 subsequently being divided equally between round and octagonal versions. The half dollars were sold individually in envelopes or by three-, four- and five-piece sets in velvet-lined leather cases and five- and 10-piece sets in copper frames by order after the expo. None of the coins sold very well, but Zerbe did manage to retain a fair number of them. Years later they were transferred to the care of celebrated dealer B. Max Mehl. As late as the 1950s, Mehl still had quite a few Pan-Pac half dollars on hand, many of which were sold to dealers Abe Kosoff and Sol Kaplan.
This Superb Gem Mint State-67 example is a real treat to the eyes of the beholder. The completely original surfaces reveal the same satiny luster we expect to have seen when the coin was first struck. Many of these typically come deeply toned. Not so with this specimen – we see a light golden toning coupled with with tinges of blue, teal, and amber on the peripheries of both sides. Together, these three Pan-Pac commems make a handsome set and a wonderful cornerstone to any numismatic collection!