A rare experimental penny that was minted back in 1792 has sold for $1.15 million at an auction in Schaumburg.
Kevin Lipton of Beverly Hills purchased the rare penny on behalf of a group of unnamed investors, according to Heritage Auctions, which handled the sale yesterday.
The rare penny drew more than 20 online bidders since the auction first went online three weeks ago.
Auctioneers at Heritage said they weren’t surprised that the penny fetched such a large price.
“After 200 years, we can only account for 14 of these,” said Todd Imhof, executive vice president of Heritage. Only two others in the world were thought to be in better condition.
Anthony Terranova, a coin dealer who was in town for the Scaumburg convention, sold one of those two coins in 2011 for a whopping $2.8 million.
The rare penny features a depiction of Miss Liberty and includes a silver plug in the middle.
The silver plug was added to make the penny heavier so that it would meet the weight standards outlined when the U.S. Mint was established in 1792. At the time, Congress mandated that all coins carry their intrinsic value in metal, so the penny had to include enough copper and silver to be worth one cent.
The phrase “Liberty Parent of Science & Indust” appears around Miss Liberty on the front, abbreviating “Industry” to save space.
On the rear, the phrase “United States of America One Cent” appears along with a wreath.
The rare penny was never made available to the public, but the design almost matches the larger, lighter 1793 debut version of the penny.
This particular coin has had less than five owners who passed it along or sold it over the last 220 years, according to Imhof.