The decoder: 1792 Birch Cent

A rare 1792 Birch Cent claimed Dh9,495,000 at auction. Here's what makes it so special.

The one-cent coin was minted in 1792 and is in a rather good condition. Heritage Auctions
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The 1792 Birch Cent was part of Don Patrick’s collection of American colonial coins. About 350 coins from the collection were sold during a special session held by Heritage Auctions in January, realising a total of US$26 million (Dh95.5m).

The collection was widely regarded as the finest grouping of American colonial coins ever assembled. “The numismatic world will never see another like it,” said Jim Halperin, the ­­ co-founder of Heritage Auctions.

Named after its engraver Robert Birch, the Birch Cent was among the first pennies ever to be created for the United States. Only 10 are believed to exist, and this particular specimen is believed to be in the best condition of them all.

The coin must have been set aside at the time of issue, with careful storage ensuring that its colour and surfaces are exceedingly well preserved.

One side of the coin features a profile of Lady Liberty, with the words “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry”, while the other says “United States of America” with the denomination, “One Cent”, encircled by a wreath.

The coin was bought by Kevin Lipton of Lipton Rare Coins Inc, for $2.585m, the most ever paid for a one-cent at auction. This topped a record set the previous day at the same auction, when a so-called “chain cent” from 1793 was sold for $2.35 million (Dh8.6m).