A Single Penny Sells for $300,000


One of the first copper coins struck at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia in 1793 was sold for $300,000 this week.

The penny was sold during an auction on Thursday during the 63rd annual Florida United Numismatics convention held in Tampa from Jan. 4-7.

Mark Borckardt, a senior numismatist with Heritage Auctions in Dallas, told The Associated Press the penny sold during the auction is one of about 500 George Washington-era pennies in existence.

In total, the auction brought in $24.9 million.

Another coin that was sold was one of the first 20 half-dollars minted in New Orleans in 1838.

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Heritage Auction called the coin “one of the rarest and most enigmatic issues in the U.S. federal series,” according to Coin World Magazine.

The “Flowing Hair Stella,” a $4 gold piece, was sold for $750,000.

“It was an experimental piece that the government produced, hoping to create an international coinage,” Borckardt told the AP. “It’s literally the forerunner of today’s Euro. The government finally decided no, that’s not going to work.”

Only 15 to 20 of the gold coins exist today.

“Collectors interested in these have a very strong sense of history, both American history and financial history,” Borckardt explained.

According to the Professional Coin Grading Service, “the value of a coin is based on rarity and condition, not how old it is.”

The FUN convention is considered to be one of the five largest coin and currency collectors’ shows in the U.S., according to the AP.

According to the organization’s website, FUN is “dedicated to involving and growing the numismatic community both in Florida and throughout the world.”

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The convention also features “over 600 dealer booths, a competitive exhibit area, 15 educational programs” and other activities.

FUN held the first major silent auction in the history of coin conventions in 1959.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith