You just might want to start counting those pennies – and making every penny count. That’s because this past Saturday, a one cent penny just sold for $1.38 million in Orlando. The copper coin was made in 1793 at the Philadelphia Mint, which was the first year that the United States started to make its own coins.
The Heritage Auctions‘ James Halperin said that this price was the most money that a coin has ever garnered. While the buyer’s name was not revealed, the Heritage officials did say that he was a “major collector.” Interestingly enough, one of the earlier owners of this coin was a well-known banker from Baltimore, Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.
As Halperin explained,
“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.”
There are other coins from 1793 out in circulation, but they are rarely auctioned off as this one was. The coin was referred to as a “Chain Cent” since it had a chain of linking rings that represented solidarity of the states. The design was later changed to a wreath, since some critics said that it looked like a slavery symbol.
Moral of the story? Count those pennies – and check to see if any of them just happen to be really old.