1792 Penny Sells For 1.15 Million

Published: April 23, 2012

1792 Penny Sells For 1.15 Million, Talk about a pretty penny. A 1792-dated copper cent has sold for $1.15 million dollars, a U.S. auction house said Friday.The experimental coin with a silver center was one of the first ever struck at the United States mint and is one of just 14 known to have survived.

It was purchased in 1974 for $105,000 and was sold to a dealer representing a group of investors at an auction held in conjunction with the annual Central States Numismatic Society convention being held in a Chicago suburb.

“Some 1792-dated cents have a silver plug as a proposed way to overcome a flaw in the Mint Act of 1792,” said Todd Imhof, vice president of Texas-based Heritage Auctions.

“That congressional law would have made pennies of the era too large and heavy for practical use,” he added. “So the mint’s chief coiner suggested making a smaller sized coin using a tiny silver plug with three-fourths of a cent worth of silver and a quarter-cent’s worth copper surrounding it.”

Congress then reduced the official weight of the cent, making an all-copper coin more practical. The first early American cents were struck for actual circulation in 1793 were a little larger than a modern quarter coin.

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