301 pennies auctioned off for $10.7M Sat Feb 16, 7:51
LONG BEACH, Calif. - A penny saved is
not necessarily just a penny earned: One man's collection
of rare American cents has turned into a $10.7 million
The collection of 301 cents featured
some of the rarest and earliest examples of the American
penny, including a cent that was minted for two weeks
in 1793 but was abandoned because Congress thought Lady
Liberty looked frightened.
That coin and a 1794 large cent with
tiny stars added to prevent counterfeiters each raised
hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the Dallas-based
auction house Heritage Auction Galleries, which held
the sale in Long Beach on Friday night.
Heritage Auction president Greg Rohan
said the auction was the biggest ever for a penny collection,
with hundreds of bidders vying for the coins. Presale
estimates valued the collection at about $7 million.
"It was a fabulous night,"
Rohan said. "Every major coin collector of American
cents was either there in person, bidding online or
on the telephone."
The coins came from the collection of Burbank resident
Walter J. Husak, the owner of an aerospace-part manufacturing
company. Husak became interested in collecting at age
13, while visiting his grandparents who paid him in
old coins for helping with chores.
There were 168 successful bidders, and
the auction gallery got 15 percent of the total.
This image provided by Heritage Auction
Galleries shows a 1794 large cent. About the size of
a modern quarter-dollar, this 1794-dated penny with
tiny stars engraved around the back rim was sold for
$632,500 by Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas, Texas
Friday Feb. 15, 2008. Owned by Burbank, California aerospace
industry executive, Walter J. Husak, it was part of
a $10.7 million auction of 300 of his early American
(AP Photo/Heritage Auction Galleries)