While the vast majority of commemorative coin issues from 1892 through 1954 were silver half dollars, there were a few gold issues in the early years. These were mostly gold dollars and quarter eagles, though two $50 “slugs” were issued for the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915, and are the undisputed keys to a complete set of classic-era commemoratives.
Gold dollars were issued for the Louisiana Purchase Expo (1903), Lewis and Clark Expo (1904-05) and the Panama-Pacific Expo (1915) as well as for the McKinley (1916-17) and Grant (1922) Memorials. Quarter eagles were struck for both the Panama-Pacific Expo as well as the Sesquicentennial of Independence in 1926. And of course, the aforementioned $50 coins, picturing the helmeted head of Minerva on the obverse and the owl of wisdom on the reverse, struck in both round, and octagonal shape. Mintages on the two $50 coins were tiny, (483 for the round and 645 for the octagonal) and their high price on the market today ($60,000 to $250,000+ depending on grade) reflects that.
The last gold commemorative of the classic era was issued in 1926, and another would not be forthcoming for nearly 60 years.