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Rare penny sells for $4,051 online – the value could depend on the rim

FOLLOWING a fierce bidding war, an antique US penny was sold on eBay for $4,051 earlier this year.

The coin - an 1870 Indian Head cent - was listed for auction with a starting bid of 99 cents.

Near the top of the coin, the rim is clearly damaged and misshapen
Other than the rim damage, this 152-year-old penny appears to be in good condition

These pennies are valuable due to their age and relative scarcity.

Other circulated 1870 cents have sold for around $1,000 at auction, according to the Professional Coin Grading Service.

However, this particular coin displayed damage along the rim and fine details around the text and images which drove intense interest for it.

Less than three minutes before the auction was set to end, the highest bid was just $44.



A rare penny sold for over $19,000 at an auction - do you have one?

But the price soared dramatically in the closing minutes as three collectors vied for the rare coin.

Bids climbed to three, then four figures, before the coin was finally sold for more than $4,000.

The value of 1870 pennies

Depending on the condition, circulated 1870 Indian Head cents can sell for anywhere from $30 to $960, according to PCGS.

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"The Indian Cents from the first half of the 1870s are the easiest to find from that decade, but they are not as common as dates in the 1880s and 1890s," PCGS president Ron Guth wrote.

While this recently sold penny was not professionally graded, it appeared to be in very good condition outside of the damage to its rim.

Evidently, at least three collectors felt the damage made this unique coin more valuable, and were willing to pay thousands for it.

How to find rare coins

Your unique pennies aren’t the only thing that might hold value, as nickelsdimeshalf dollars, and others could be worth serious cash. 

And there are many ways you can find rare coins.

The first thing you’ll want to do is check places in your home or any places you might store change.

You can also try using a metal detector in known areas for buried treasure or stopping by your local bank and asking for a roll of coins.

To check if your coins are worth anything on eBay, search the full name, select the "sold" listing and then toggle the search to "highest value”.

This way, you'll get a sense of what collectors are willing to pay for your coins.

You can either choose to sell the coin on eBay or through a specialist site such as Coinappraiser or USA Coin Book.

And also - be aware of potential fakes when buying online.

To avoid this, it's worth checking the seller’s history and whether or not the coin was certified in the listing.

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For more on pennies, we explained the 1944 steel piece and what makes it worth up to $1.1million.

And we’ve also explained the value of the 1969 Lincoln penny.