In 1792, Robert Birch, an American engraver was commissioned by the newly formed United States government to design one of the very first coins ever struck in the Philadelphia Mint. This humble penny is known as the Birch Cent and only 10 are believed to be in existence today. Another of these coins sold recently for a whopping $2.58 million, so with a pre-auction estimate of between $600,000 and $700,000 for this Birch Cent, the winning bidder could be getting a bargain.
The Birch Cent is the highlight of the Kendall Foundation Collection of rare Colonial, Early Federal and Confederate coins which will be auctioned off by the venerable numismatic specialists, Stack’s and Bowers in late March.
Also included in this collection is an 1861 Confederate Half Dollar. It is only half dollar created by the Confederacy. and is predicted to sell at auction for more than $1 million. Another interesting lot is the 1792 Silver Center Cent (not pictured) which was designed by Thomas Jefferson and like the Birch Cent, is one of the first pieces ever to be created by the Philadelphia Mint. Fewer than 15 of this coin are known to exist.
Collecting rare coins has been called the hobby of kings. In addition to proving an interesting way to own a piece of history, in the case of coins like these, it’s also not a bad way to invest your money.
The entire Kendall Foundation Collection will be offered at public auction in Baltimore, Maryland, as part of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo in March 2015. You can view more of the coins and order a catalogue to view the entire collection at the Stack’s and Bowers website.