A Beverly Hills rare coin dealer is over the moon after putting in the winning bid for the coin of his dreams. There’s one snag. The penny in question cost nearly $2.6 million and it only has a face value of one-cent.
Yet as far as Kevin Lipton of Lipton Rare Coins Inc is concerned, “This was a really good buy.”
It may take money to make money, but it also takes money to buy money. That is if you’re thinking of buying one of the so-called Birch Cents. Named after its engraver Robert Birch, the Birch Cents were among the first pennies struck for the United States as part of a series of prototype coins.
There are thought to be only ten Birch Cents in existence and when Kevin Lipton paid nearly $2.6 million for the pricey penny at the Heritage Auctions sale in Orlando, Florida, it became the most expensive one-cent piece in history.
Lipton’s coin is thought to be in far better condition than any of the other Birch coins, something which has delighted the enthusiastic collector, who feels that even though he paid top dollar for the pretty penny made in 1792, he got an absolute bargain.
“I thought the coin would bring more money. This was a really good buy. I felt elated, just wonderful. It’s a gorgeous coin, breathtaking. And the history is important. This is our earliest depiction of what we thought of ourselves as a nation.”
Reuters reports that one side of the Birch Cent features the profile of Lady Liberty with flowing hair and the motto ‘Liberty Parent of Science and Industry.’ The other side says ‘United States of America’ and gives the denomination ‘One Cent’ within a wreath.
Co-chairman of Heritage auctions, Jim Halperin explained that rare coins are a hot commodity these days.
“The economy is pretty good right now and there isn’t a lot of other things to put your money in. People recognise that diversity is a very good financial strategy. And coins are just cool.”
In case you’re wondering what 55-year-old Lipton is planing on doing with his penny, he’s keeping it for a rainy day. What’s more he was so excited with his buy, the very next day he spent another $2,232,500 for the “Wright quarter,” America’s first quarter.
“For 26 cents, I spent $4.8 million.”
Images courtesy of Reuters