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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Penny sells for 1.38 million

Penny sells for 1.38 million
Penny sells for 1.38 million. Talk about a lucky penny. It was actually worth $1 million.
That was the final bid by an unknown buyer for the one-cent copper coin minted in 1793, the first year the United States produced its own coins. Its sale was one of the biggest deals at the coin show and annual convention of the Florida United Numismatists at the Orange County Convention Center.



The coin was made at the Mint in Philadelphia in 1793, the first year that the US made its own coins. Heritage officials said in a news release that the name of the buyer was not revealed but that he was 'a major collector.' One of the coin's earliest owners was a well-known Baltimore banker, Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.


'Mr. Eliasberg was nicknamed, "the king of coins" because before his death in 1976 he assembled a collection that consisted of at least one example of every coin ever made at the United States Mint, a feat never duplicated,' Halperin said in the news release. The final bid for the coin last week was one of the largest sales at the Florida United Numismatists coin show and annual convention, which runs through Sunday.

Mr Halperin said a five-dollar gold piece from 1829 also was sold. Mr Halperin said there remain a few hundred 1793 coins in different condition, but that the one auctioned off Wednesday night is rare because it wasn't in circulation.

Officials say it shows no wear on its lettering, its Lady Liberty face or the chain of linking rings on its back.

The news release said the coin is known as a 'Chain Cent' because its chain of linking rings was supposed to represent the solidarity of the states.

The design was changed to a wreath after some critics claimed it was symbolic of slavery.

Mr Halperin said the auction had more than $64 million in transactions. The show runs through Sunday.

While impressive, the 1793 Chain Cent's selling price is nowhere near the record among American coins.

That honor belongs to the 1933 'Double Eagle,' the only legal copy of a coin that never made it into circulation. It sold at a 2002 auction for $7.59 million. The previous record belonged to an 1804 silver dollar that was bought in 1999 for $4.14 million.

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