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First US penny fetches $1.2 bn at auction

PTI New York | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on March 29, 2015

The first US penny, dating back 223 years, has fetched a staggering sum of nearly $1.2 million at an auction in Baltimore.

Experts say the coin, known as the ‘Birch Cent’, is about twice the size of a modern penny.

The coin features a portrait of ‘Miss Liberty’, a woman with flowing hair, and the words ‘Liberty, Parent of Science & Industry’.

According to the auction house Stack’s Bowers Galleries, the coin was made in 1792, months after the one-cent denomination was first authorised by Congress, CNN reported.

Thomas Jefferson and George Washington discussed the design in letters dated August 1792, before it was presented to Congress as an option for the new coin.

As far as collectors know, there are only 10 of these coins in existence today.

The auction house declined to release the name of the winning bidder.

Another coin, an 1861 half-dollar made by the Confederate States of America, fetched $646,250 at the auction.

Published on March 29, 2015
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