A rare Colonial sixpence from 1652 was auctioned for over $430,000 in Baltimore, Maryland, last week. The coin was discovered by an East Hampton woman in an old potato field 23 years ago.
The coin, a 1652 New England sixpence, has been off the marked in a private collection for 21 years after it was found, reports Newsday.
Auction officials state that the coin was expected to sell for $100,000, but that it left the auction after garnering more than $430,000. Lawrence R. Stack, a senior numismatic consultant for Stack’s Bowers Galleries, a Manhattan rare coin dealer and auction house, stated:
“We knew it was a very rare coin and we knew it would reach six figures. An it brought in $431,250, so I guess we did well.”
The rare Colonial sixpence was auctioned at the Colonial Coin Collectors Club annual convention in Baltimore. More than 200 bidders were present in the room. The coin, which is 360 years old, is one of only eight known to exist. It was first auctioned in 1992 for the woman who found it and was purchased by Stack’s for $32,200.
The Boston Herald notes that Lillian King unearthed the rare coin with a metal detector in 1990 during one of many hunts through an old potato field, the location of which she has never disclosed. King stated of the recent sale:
“It makes me think that I wished I had waited to sell it and put it away in a safe-deposit box. But I am very happy for whoever bought it. It was a priceless object.”
The rare New England sixpence was one of the first coins minted in the colonies. It was commissioned by Massachusetts Bay Colony, but its design was quickly changed because of how easy it was to counterfeit.