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Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915)

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The Palace of Fine Arts from the Exposition
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The Palace of Fine Arts from the Exposition

The Panama-Pacific International Exposition was a world's fair held in San Francisco, California between February 20 and December 4 in 1915. Its ostensible purpose was to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal, but it was widely seen in the city as an opportunity to showcase its recovery from the 1906 earthquake. The fair was constructed on a 635 acre (2.6 km²) site in the area of San Francisco, part of the Presidio now known as the Marina. The subsequent high price of land in this area, combined with the fact that the exposition buildings were constructed from temporary materials, meant that almost all the fair's various attractions were later pulled down. The only surviving building is Bernard Maybeck's Palace of Fine Arts (illustration upper right).

The US Post Office issued a set of four postage stamps to commemorate the exposition, with designs depicting a profile of Vasco Nez de Balboa(1c), the Pedro Miguel Locks of the Panama Canal (2c), the Golden Gate (5c), and the discovery of San Francisco Bay (10c). The stamps were first put on sale in 1913, to promote the coming event, and perforated 12, and then reissued in 1914 and 1915, perforated 10. Their prices today range widely; the 2c of 1913 is available for under a dollar in used condition, while an unused 10c of 1915 goes for a thousand dollars.

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