COLUMBUS, Ohio (April 28) - It cost a lot more than a nickel to buy this half dime.
A 1792 half dime, believed to be one of the first coins minted by the United States, was sold at auction for more than $1.3 million Thursday night at the Central States Numismatic Society convention, officials said.
The winning bidder was a private collector who wants to remain anonymous, said James Halperin, co-chairman of Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas, which was selling the coin.
The bidding began at $750,000 and advanced to $1.15 million. With a 15 percent buyer's premium added on, the coin sold for $1,322,500.
The coin, mottled blue, gray and gold with time but still considered to be in excellent condition, was thought to have been struck on silver provided by George Washington, officials said.
It depicts a female Liberty figure with flowing hair on the front and an eagle on the back.
The Professional Coin Grading Service designated it a "specimen strike," meaning it likely was made as a presentation piece. The auction catalog description speculates the coin was "perhaps a special gift to a friend of the U.S. or even to George Washington himself."
Two worn 1792 half dimes, or "disme" as it was originally spelled, also were sold at the convention for $14,950 and $69,000, respectively.