Heritage Auctions of Dallas, which conducted the auction in Schaumburg, a Chicago suburb, said the experimental 1792 copper cent with a silver plug in the center was purchased Thursday by Kevin Lipton, a Southern California coin dealer.
"There are only 14 known surviving silver-center cents, and this is the third-finest known. In 1974, this same coin sold for $105,000, and now it brought $1.15 million," said Todd Imhof, executive vice president of Heritage Auctions.
"Some 1792-dated cents have a silver plug as a proposed way to overcome a flaw in the Mint Act of 1792. That congressional law would have made pennies of the era too large and heavy for practical use. So the mint's chief coiner suggested making a smaller sized coin using a tiny silver plug with three-fourths of a cent worth of silver and a quarter-cent's worth copper surrounding it," Imhof said.
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