A rare penny dated 1793 sold at an auction house in Florida for $1.38 million, making it the most expensive piece of copper ever sold on the market in the United States.
The coin was created at a mint plant in Philadelphia about 220 years ago. James Halperin from Heritage Auctions confirmed that the price was paid to a buyer who wishes to remain anonymous.
Halperin said it’s “the most a United States copper coin has ever sold for at auction.”
Part of the reason for the penny selling for $1.38 million is the fact that 1793 was the first year that the US started minting its own coins. Halperin adds, of the few hundred coins from 1793 still in existence, this particular coin never went into circulation.
The penny has the face of Lady Liberty on the front and rings linked together like a chain on the back; the coin shows no signs of wear. After receiving criticism that the linked chains represented slavery, the design on the back was changed to a wreath.
The penny had belonged to a collection amassed by a man named Louis Eliasberg, who died in 1976.
“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.