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Elongated Coins from the 1915 to 1916 California Expositions


Book Summary

The 1914 opening of the Panama Canal served as the theme for two expositions: the Panama-Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco in 1915, and the Panama-California (International) Exposition held in San Diego in 1915-1916. Elongated coins, first widely introduced as souvenirs at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, had become a popular feature of expositions, but the details surrounding their production have remained enigmatic. Here, using archival documents, Gastfriend demonstrates that the elongated coins produced at both 1915-1916 California expositions were the creation of the same man, Joseph Weis, who also operated other exposition concessions. These documents also reveal the legal and financial arrangements between Weis and exposition organizers. Together, this work contributes new pieces of documentary evidence related to early elongated coin production. This research was sponsored by the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society (EPNNES), which awarded a Newman Grant to Gastfriend in 2023.

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