United States, Fifty Dollars, Panama-Pacific Exposition Commemorative, 1915 S

United States Mint, San Francisco. Obverse: Bust of Liberty as goddess Athena facing left. She wears a crested helmet and carries a shield with the date 1915 in Roman numerals. Reverse: Owl seated on pine bough (the owl was the bird associated with Athena). On the octagonal version, there are eight small dolphins at the eight points of the octagon.
Designed by Robert Aitken, the round and octagonal coins were part of an elaborate attempt to raise money for the Panama-Pacific Exposition. That celebration was held in San Francisco between February and December, 1915. In turn, the exposition was intended to commemorate the completion and opening of the Panama Canal in the previous year. Dolphins were friendly companions of the vessels making the trip from one ocean to another, via the new Isthmian waterway.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
U.S. Mint, San Francisco
Physical Description
gold (overall metal)
0 (overall die axis)
0 (overall die axis measurement)
struck (overall production method)
overall: .2 cm x 4.5 cm; 3/32 in x 1 25/32 in
place of issue
United States: California, San Francisco
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Coins, Currency and Medals
Panama-Pacific International Exposition
See more items in
Armed Forces History: National Numismatic Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Publication title
Glossary of Coins and Currency Terms
Publication URL
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