- A rare 1792 penny is about to be auctioned off for about $US1 million – 100 million times its monetary value, as Barron’s reported.
- The penny was printed as a prototype for the first US cent, a year before the US started using coin currency.
- This penny ended up being too big, so in 1793 the US Mint started making smaller, lighter pennies out of plain copper.
A rare, historic coin is about to be auctioned off for 100 million times its value.
The 1792 penny, made as a prototype for the first US cent, is worth an estimated $US1 million.
It features an image of Lady Liberty (Abraham Lincoln didn’t appear on pennies until 1909) and text that reads “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry” instead of today’s “In God We Trust.”
It’s unknown how many of these pennies were made, but James McCartney, another numismatist at Stack’s Browers, estimated that only 10 or 11 have survived.
“This was the first attempt to make a cent and see if it worked,” he told Barron’s.
But the penny was ultimately found to be too big.
“It was much bigger than other copper coins,” McCartney said. “They probably thought it was just too unwieldy to continue. Then in 1793 they reduced the weight of the cent, and started making smaller cents out of plain copper.”
The text was also altered, changed from “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry” to “Liberty United States of America.”
The penny, known as a Birch Cent, was commissioned by Thomas Jefferson and seen firsthand by George Washington. It hasn’t been sold in more than 40 years, according to the auction house. The penny is part of a collection called Archangel that has coins from the American colonial era and through the creation of the US Mint in 1792, Barron’s reported.
The historic coin will be auctioned by Stack’s Bowers Galleries at the Whitman Expo in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 26.
“The collector who ends up with this Birch Cent will have the satisfaction of knowing that it very likely was held by our founding fathers, making it a very special piece of American history as well,” Brian Kendrella, president of Stack’s Bowers Galleries, said in a statement.
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