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$1 Million for a Rare Penny?

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Scott Olson/Getty Images(SCHAUMBURG, Ill.) — A 1792 Silver Center penny is being auctioned off Thursday night and online bidding is already at $1.15 million, according to Heritage Auctions.

The penny is one of the first coins struck at the U.S. Mint, according to Todd Imhof of Heritage Auctions. It is one of only 14 known surviving silver-center cent pieces. It is made of copper with a small silver plug in the center.

The Silver Center pieces were an experiment made in 1792 when the newly created U.S. Mint had specific requirements for the size and weight of pennies, Imhof said. Silver was placed in the center of the coin to reach the required weight. However, it was decided that the pennies were too large and heavy for practical use so the coins were never mass-produced.

Also what makes this coin rare is that it doesn’t have the usual “In God We Trust” that are seen on pennies today. Instead, the coin says “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry.”

The coin comes from a collector who wishes to remain anonymous. He has owned the coin for 10 years and paid far less than what the coin is expected to bring in at tonight’s auction, Imhof said.

A coin of the same type sold over a year ago for close to $3 million, Imhof said. Fewer than 30 coins in history have sold for more than $1 million in public auction.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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