California man pays $4.8M for 26 cents from 1792

Kevin Lipton submitted a winning bid of $2,585,000 mid-January for the 1792 penny, one of about only 10 coins that were “experimentally produced” after the U.S. Mint was established.

Lipton, who owns a coin wholesaling business in Beverly Hills,was searching for the penny, called a Birch Cent, since he saw one in 1981 at a New York auction house. The coin was bought by a developer for a mere $200,000.

“It’s like our very first penny,” Lipton said. “It’s such a spectacular coin. It’s so important, so rare.”

The piece features a profile of a female face encircled by the words “Liberty Parent of Science and Industry.” The other side says, “United States of America” and shows the denomination of “One Cent” within a wreath. At the bottom is the fraction “1/100.”

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According to the Reporters, Lipton’s bid is the most money ever paid for a one-cent coin. “They are a great store value, and will only be worth more in the future,” He said about his purchase. “They are literally Mona Lisas of our coinage.”

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Lipton’s 1792 “Wright Quarter” is special because it’s America’s first quarter and because the only other example known to exist is in the Smithsonian. It features a beautifully executed profile of a woman with the word “Liberty” written atop and the date below. The reverse side has an eagle standing on a globe with the words “United States of America” surrounding it. The coin was designed by Joseph Wright only one year before his death.

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