$2.58 Million for Rare 1792 U.S. Cent
January 19, 2015
By James Massey
ORLANDO, FLORIDA, USA - An extremely rare U.S. penny, born out of political controversy and known as one of the earliest U.S. coins, set a new world record by fetching $2.58 million at Heritage.
The coin, a 1792 Birch Cent, named after its engraver Robert Birch, has quite a story behind it.
The story could have completely changed the look of the coin, and the use of Presidential power. If things had gone differently.
Controversy erupted when Congress learned of an idea to use a portrait of President Washington on the new coin. Full story can be read here.
This meant a sitting President would sign an Act authorizing the use of his own image on a coin. As you can imagine, it stirred up quite a debate.
Eventually the dust settled, after the House and Senate choose Miss Liberty for the coin, rather than President Washington's portrait.
Why's It Valuable?
Besides its historical significance of being one of the earliest U.S. coins to be minted, Birch Cents are also considered to be artistically superior to other coins of the era.
The coin also has a unique lettered edge which states; " TO BE ESTEEMED * BE USEFUL*" (unfortunately this cannot be seen in the photos).VIDEO (1-MINUTE): More about the 1792 Birch Cent (Source: ODN)
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