Many people have never seen or even heard of the Panama Canal Completion Medal and I thought it was time to bring it into the spotlight. It was an important part of the opening of the
The medals were copyrighted in 1913 by J. F. Newman and signed by Geo W. Goethals, Chief Engineer of the
Panama Canal. Many of the medals were distributed to
government, industry and religious leaders around the world, and a number were
given to members of the press who were covering the canal's opening. The entire
mintage was not distributed, but it is known that some of them were sold to
tourist as they passed through the canal in the early days.
The official first ceremonial crossing of the canal was on
August 15, 1914 and was completed by the SS Ancon, the sister
ship of the SS Cristobal. The Ancon trip carried government officials, foreign
diplomats, assorted invited VIPs and members of the press. Many of the medals were passed out to the
dignitaries at this time.
The medal measures 1 1/2 inches across. So-Called Dollars lists the medal with the classification HK398 and calls the medal quite scarce.