A copper penny minted in 1792 and kept in a tobacco tin for decades was auctioned Monday for $437,000. The winning bidder was not identified.
The penny’s owners were descendants of Oliver Wolcott, the governor of Connecticut in the 1790s and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, according to auctioneer Ira Goldberg.
“The historical importance of this coin cannot be overstated,” said Michael Sherman, vice president of Professional Coin Grading Service, which directed a team of experts who authenticated the coin.
The chocolate-colored penny, the ninth known example of its type, bears the date 1792, an inscription “Parent of Science & Industry: Liberty,” and the likeness of a woman’s head representing Miss Liberty, Goldberg said.
The owners surprised collectors with its existence in August when the brought the valuable penny to the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money convention in Pittsburgh.