Rare 200-year-old half cent coin discovered in a matchbox during attic clear-out sells for £225,700

January 24, 2013 in Antique Coins, Coins, Copper Coins, USA Coins

  • American coin dates back to 1796 and is one of just 1,400 ever made

  • Copper half cent was undiscovered for 50 years after owner’s death in 1963


PUBLISHED: 08:10 EST, 23 January 2013  (

A rare 200-year-old coin which was hidden for half a century in a tiny cabinet made of matchboxes has sold for £225,700 – a staggering 72 million times its face value.

The U.S. copper half cent was minted in 1796 and was one of just 1,400 ever struck. It was picked out of a hoard of 70 coins by an expert after being taken to an auction house in Wiltshire.

The collection had been gathered by Oxford student Mark Hillary, who died aged 20 in 1963 in a climbing accident.

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