Dick Hanscom and Stephen Pradier forwarded this article from the UK's Daily Mail about an early U.S. Half Cent discovered in an old collection there.
A rare two centuries old coin found in the back of a cupboard after being hidden away for five decades is expected to fetch £30,000 at auction.
The half cent American coin, which dates back to 1796 and is one of only 1,400 ever made, will go under the hammer in Salisbury, Wiltshire, next month.
It was part of a collection which once belonged to Oxford student Mark Hillary who was killed in a climbing accident in Greece at the age of 20 in 1963.
The coin, which is still in mint condition, remained hidden in Hilary's homemade cabinet of glued together matchboxes until members of his family found it recently.
It was struck in pure copper at the Philadelphia Mint and designed by the mint's first Chief Engraver Robert Scott.
Daniel Fearon, Woolley and Wallis coin consultant, said: 'A relative brought the matchbox cabinet of coins in and on first inspection there did not appear to be much of interest but then this one coin jumped out.
'I hope it will always be remembered as the Mark Hillary coin.
'Britain is just the place where you could expect to find one.
'The best specimens of American coins have surfaced over the years in British collections.
'There was no local collecting market in America in those early days but in Britain the 1790's was a time when copper coinage and copper trade tokens were widely collected.
'It is the natural place for coins of the former colony to end up.'
Mark Hillary attended both Winchester College and Magdalen College in Oxford and is said to have been well on the way to a first in classical greats when he died.
His passion for coin collecting often took him to the London dealers and the main bulk of his collection was sold at auction a few years ago.
The coin was made by John Smith Gardner, assistant engraver at Philadelphia Mint.
Half-cents coins were never popular and mintage was often low as priority was given to the new gold and silver coins.
The coin will be auctioned by Woolley and Wallis in Salisbury on January 22.
Interesting story. Were there other U.S. coins in the parts of Hillary's collection sold earlier? Could any of our early copper collectors identify the variety from the photo? And could anyone tell us more about engraver John Smith Gardner?
To read the complete article, see:
18th century half cent coin that lay at back of cupboard for 50 years expected to reach £30,000 at auction
Wayne Homren, Editor
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