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Old Penny Sells For $1.38 Million

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ORLANDO (CBSMiami/AP) – As Benjamin Franklin once wrote ‘A penny saved is a penny earned’.

In Orlando on Saturday an old penny saved was sold for $1.38 million.

The one-cent copper coin was made at the Mint in Philadelphia in 1793, the first year that the U.S. made its own coins. James Halperin of Texas-based Heritage Auctions said the sale was “the most a United States copper coin has ever sold for at auction.”

Heritage officials said in a news release that the name of the buyer was not revealed but that he was “a major collector.” One of the coin’s earliest owners was a well-known Baltimore banker, Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.

“Mr. Eliasberg was nicknamed, ‘the king of coins’ because before his death in 1976 he assembled a collection that consisted of at least one example of every coin ever made at the United States Mint, a feat never duplicated,” Halperin said.

The final bid for the coin last week was one of the largest sales at the Florida United Numismatists coin show and annual convention. Halperin said a five-dollar gold piece from 1829 also was sold.

Halperin said there remain a few hundred 1793 coins in different condition, but that the one auctioned off is rare because it wasn’t in circulation.

Officials say it shows no wear on its lettering, on its Lady Liberty face or on the chain of linking rings on its back.

The coin is known as a “Chain Cent” because its chain of linking rings was supposed to represent the solidarity of the states. The design was changed to a wreath after some critics claimed it was symbolic of slavery.

(TM and © Copyright 20121 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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