New York: A rare 1930-era Canadian penny fetched $402,500 - much more than the expected price of $300,000 - at an auction here on Sunday.
It is the highest price fetched by any coin in recent auctions. But it is nowhere near the $1.1 million fetched by a 1911 Canadian silver dollar in 2003. The penny, a 1936 vintage coin, has a dot - rather than the image of the then British sovereign - on it.
It is one of the three pennies that were struck after the death of King George V who is best known for the Delhi Durbar of 1911. He ruled the British Commonwealth, including Canada and India, from 1910 to 1936.
Though dated 1936, the penny was actually minted in 1937. The Royal Canadian Mint had cast these pennies which were to be issued with the image of new King Edward VIII who succeeded King George V after his death in 1936.
But as the pennies were being cast, King Edward VIII left the throne to marry twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson.Thus, the mint was left without a monarch's face to grace the coins, and the pennies were issued with only a tiny dot below the date.
'This is the rarest, the most valuable, the most charismatic and legendary Canadian coin that exists,' Canada's Canwest news agency quoted Cristiano Bierrenbach, director of international sales with Heritage Auction which carried out the auction, as saying.
'In Canada, there is nothing that is worth more individually than the 1936 Dot Cent,'' he said.
A 1933 Double Eagle gold coin in the US, which went for $7 million in 2002, holds the record of the costliest coin ever sold. The US coin has an interesting history. Though 400,000 Double Eagle gold coins were minted, they were never issued as President Roosevelt made it illegal for the American people to hold coins during the Great Depression.
His idea was to stop hoarding of gold and thus check inflation. All the coins were melted and made into gold bars.
The few that could not be traced became rare coins.