A Florida auction drew the most money ever for a US copper coin. The one-cent coin is from 1793, the first year the United States Mint opened in Philadelphia. What makes this coin so rare is that it was not in circulation. There was no wearing on the face, lettering or the chains (the chains on the reverse were later replaced by a wreath as the US government felt it symbolized slavery).
The buyer’s name has not been released but was reputed to be a major collector. Amazingly, this isn’t the most a US coin has been sold for. Keep reading for a list of some of the highest-priced coins in US history:
Coin collecting is one of the world’s oldest known hobbies (and one of our favorites!). Once thought of as an activity for the wealthy, today, coin collecting is becoming increasingly popular with millions of hobbyists worldwide. In the US, interest in coin collecting was sparked by the availability of commemorative coins in the 1930s as well as the inception of coin clubs, which provided opportunities for collectors to meet and trade.
Due to the increasing popularity of coin collecting, Congress enacted the Hobby Protection Act in 1973. This act made it illegal to manufacture, sell, or import into the United States any imitation numismatic item that was not clearly and permanently marked “COPY” or did not have the year of manufacture. These restrictions made it much harder for people to sell fake coins. Nowadays, however, with the accessibility of Internet sales and auction sites like eBay, imitation coins have been flooding the market. It seems that the Hobby Protection Act is due for some modern-day revisions.
The Collectible Coin Protection Act of 2012 (HR 5977) was introduced on June 20, 2012, in the House of Representatives to strengthen the Hobby Protection Act and modify it to include “sale in commerce.” If enacted, this bill would make it a violation to knowingly assist or provide support to any manufacturer, importer, or seller of unmarked replicas. It would also extend the Hobby Protection Act to cover unauthorized use of registered trademarks belonging to collectible certification companies such as the Professional Coin Grading Society (PCGS) and the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC). This would essentially cover not only the imitation coins, but also the counterfeit grading service holders, which are both being manufactured at tremendous volumes and high quality around the world.
This month, Dallas-based Heritage Auctions plans to auction off an extremely rare 1905 $5 bill from the First National Bank of Fairbanks, Alaska. This item is 1 of 4 national currency notes of its kind ever printed; it dates from Series 1902, has a red seal and features President Benjamin Harrison. The minimum starting bid is $120,000 — and it is expected to sell for $200,000 to $300,000.
The Alaskan bank originally gave the bill to Vice President Charles W. Fairbanks in 1905 as a memento from the city named after him. Held for decades as a treasured family heirloom, the bill’s color has slightly muted, but it has been kept in uncirculated condition with no wear. Although some minor restoration has been performed to the back corners, it is not expected to affect the selling price of this extremely rare piece of history.
The note has been certified by PCGS as Apparent Choice New 63 and also mentions the minor restoration on the back corners. The embossing is strong with full original paper wave and full margins. The bill also displays a bold blue serial number, a Treasury serial number and bold signatures.
In October, a man with a metal detector stumbled upon a “nationally significant” haul of rare coins. This amazing find consists of 159 pure gold Roman solidus coins from the fourth century. The amateur treasure hunter — whose identity has not been revealed in order to protect his privacy — was sweeping a private field near Saint Albans, England, when he found this latest bounty of rare coins. The exact location of the find is being kept under wraps as well, so as to prevent the land being overrun with looters.
Last June, another large stash of coins that dated from the first century B.C. was discovered in England — again with a high-power metal detector. The collection of 30,000–50,000 gold and silver coins was valued at $15 million. In an earlier find last March, more than 30,000 silver coins from the third century were unearthed about 450 feet from the historic Roman Baths in England.