John writes: I have a coin that was made specifically for commemorating the opening of the Panama canal. The date on the coin is 1913. It looks bronze in color and has a woman standing on two ships on the front of the coin. I would like to know the estimated value of a coin like this.
The official Panama Canal Opening medal was issued at the PANAMA CALIFORNIA EXPOSITION SAN DIEGO 1915. Your medal was copyrighted 1913 by J. F. Newman but the Panama canal didn’t open until August 3, 1914. The proper description is below:
Obverse: shows a boat passing though the canal, a female figure standing on the prow, long rays emanating from head and shoulders, arms are outstretched, each hand rests on a world globe representing the eastern and western hemispheres. On a ribbon across her body connecting the globes is the Latin legend OCEANI INTER SE COLUMBID CONIUNGUNTUR (Columbia Unites the Oceans). At top to left on ribbon, PROSPERITY, to the left on ribbon TO ALL NATIONS. At the lower right edge, in tiny letters is J.F.N. (the designer).
Reverse: At top, of Seal of Canal Zone; around top COMMEMORATING THE OPENING, at either side of the seal OF, THE, and below PANAMA CANAL / TO THE / COMMERCE OF THE WORLD / THIS MEDAL COPYRIGHTED AND BEARING / A SERIAL NUMBER IS ONE OF 50000 CAR/ -RIED ON THE VESSEL MAKING THE FIRST / PASSAGE THROUGH THE PANAMA CANAL / AS AUTHENTICATED IN CERTIFICATE / SIGNED BY / (written signature here) GEO. W. GOETHALS / CHIEF ENGINEER / AND CHAIRMAN/ ISTHMIAN CANAL COMMISSION. Below is the medal’s serial number, incuse on panel. Below in tiny letters copyright 1913 J.F. Newman. Bronze. Estimated value range: $100 -$200.