An American Copper Birch Cent was sold this week for nearly $1.2 million during the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Expo in Baltimore, Maryland. Including the 17.5% buyer’s premium, the late 18th century American penny sold for $1.175 million to an unidentified man who said that he resides in Texas.  Reports say that online bidding activity had raised the price to $850,000 before the in house bidding commenced.

The rare coin is the first American manufactured cent, referred to as the Birch Cent and minted in Philadelphia during the summer of 1792. Named after the rare coin’s designer, Robert Birch, the cent is larger than modern pennies and closer to the size of a quarter.  The coin’s design depicts on one side the profile of Lady Liberty with flowing hair and on the reverse a wreath design graces the coin.
Rare 1792 Birch cent

Only 11 Birch Cents are known to exist, with one in mint condition selling earlier this year for over $2.5 million.

Other rare coins of note were auctioned that night, with an 1861 Confederate half dollar selling for just under $650,000 and another copper penny from 1792, this one with a silver plug in the middle of it, selling for just under $500,000. That rare coin happened to be the result of a joint venture between Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine, the noted patriot of the American Revolution. The design of the Jefferson/Paine penny is very similar to the Birch Cent, with Lady Liberty gracing one side of the rare coin and a wreath on the reverse.

Join our newsletter:


Connect with us

Click a link below to add us to your favorite social media channels.