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Press Release - August 11, 2016

Two Cents Fetch $869,500 at Auction

Coins from 1792 sell for more than 43 million times face value Aug. 10 by Heritage Auctions in California

1792 P1C One Cent
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA — Two early American cents, among the first struck by the U.S. Mint in 1792, sold for a combined $869,500 — more than 43 million times their face value — on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, at a public auction of American coinage in Anaheim, California. Heritage Auctions said the coins were among the most historically important coins to come to auction in more than 20 years.

"As the first coins produced inside the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, these two coins played an important role in the development of the United States' monetary system," said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions."Interest in these rarities extended well beyond the historical: Both are in excellent condition for their age and type."

A winning bid of $352,500 claimed a 1792 Silver Center Cent, so named for a small silver plug added to make its intrinsic value equal to its face value. The concept was suggested by American patriot Thomas Paine and endorsed by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to President George Washington. The copper cent is about the size of today's modern quarter.

The second cent was a 1792 Birch Cent, supposedly engraved by Robert Birch, but never confirmed. The coin is the finer of the two known surviving examples of this experimental design and sold for $517,000.

The two cents were offered as part of a five-day public auction of rare coins and paper money conducted in Anaheim and online by Heritage Auctions,, that is expected to bring $10 million or more.

Hi-Res images available:
Eric Bradley, Public Relations Associate

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