An auction last night proved pennies are not necessarily worthless. Last night one of the first pennies ever made in the U.S. sold for over $1 million at an auction reported The Side Show
(courtesy of Yahoo!).
reported the coin was minted in 1791 (dated 1792) and was one of the first coins made at the U.S. Mint. It is a rarity because it is one of only 14 known like-coins.
Another factor, aside from age and make, that contributes to the coin's rare existence is its scarcity. This particular coin was never mass-produced because it was decided the piece was too heavy and was discarded quickly, having never been put into circulation
The 18th century coin is made of copper "with a small silver plug" in the middle and carries the phrase "Liberty Parent of Science & Industry."
Explaining the motto on the 1792 coin not having the familiar "In God We Trust", Todd Imhof, of Heritage Auctions
which handled the sale, explained to ABC News, "At the time, industry and science reflected an enlightenment mindset. People believed freedom of thought and industrial growth would bind and unify the new country, not religion or God."
According to the U.S. Treasury,
"In God We Trust" was not used on any type of money until the 19th century.
Both the seller and buyer are seemingly anonymous. The Associated Press
reported the last time this particular penny sold was in 1974 and went for $105,000.