PHOTOS: Rare 1792 penny sells for $1.15 million

<font color=990000>PHOTOS:</font> Rare 1792 penny sells for $1.15 million

Credit: Getty Images

SCHAUMBURG, IL - APRIL 18: A 1792 Silver Center Cent is shown on April 18, 2012 in Schaumburg, Illinois. The coin is scheduled to be auctioned by Heritage Auctions on April 19. Online bidding for the coin has already pushed the price over $1 million. The coin, considered the third best example of fourteen known to exist, was last sold at auction in 1974 when it reached a price of $105,000. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)


by Associated Press

Posted on April 23, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 12 at 12:07 PM

SCHAUMBURG, Illinois — When is a penny worth $1.15 million? When it is a rare experimental penny minted in 1792.

The unusual coin was auctioned off Thursday at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center in suburban Chicago.

Officials with Heritage Auctions say Kevin Lipton of Beverly Hills, Calif., bought the penny on behalf of a group of unnamed investors. The winning bid was $1 million, but the investors also must pay the auction house's 15 percent commission.

The coin is made from copper and encases a small plug of silver.

The silver was added to make the penny heavier, said Todd Imhof, executive vice president of Heritage Auctions. On one side of the coin, a depiction of Miss Liberty is ringed by the phrase "Liberty Parent of Science & Industry." The back of the coin reads "United States of America One Cent."

"After 200 years, we can only account for 14 of these," said Imhof, who added that the penny was never actually put into circulation.

The same coin was last sold at a public auction in 1974, when it went for $105,000.

"It's a real classic, one that's rarely seen in such good condition," Imhof said.