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Glass trumps gold for attention


Selling for $70,500 was this unique unbroken experimental glass cent of 1942.

It wasn’t the most expensive lot in Heritage’s $42 million Florida United Numismatists auction of U.S. coins Jan. 4-9, but a 1942 experimental glass cent grabbed the spotlight away from gold nevertheless.

Selling for $70,500, it is the only intact surviving example of the experimental cent.

It was created when the Mint was looking for alternatives to its branze alloy Lincoln cent during World War II.

The piece sold for more than double its $30,000 pre-sale estimate as the result of intense bidding competition between a phone bidder and a floor bidder in Fort Lauderdale, the firm said. The phone bidder, a collector, won.

It was the object of many an after-sale conversation on the bourse floor of the FUN show.

“This one-of-a-kind cent is a part of U.S. history,” said Mark Borckardt, Senior Numismatist at Heritage Auctions. “Collectors love to own unusual specimens, and although glass failed as a substitute for U.S. coinage, this piece represents a unique artifact of the ingenuity and determination of U.S. Mint officials and private industry.”

Made of tempered, yellow-amber transparent glass by the Blue Ridge Glass Company of Kingsport, Tennessee, the example offered in the auction is the only surviving example of two known to exist. The other example is broken in half.

A massive 327.97 ounce gold ingot from The Arizona Treasure Collection, issued by Justh & Hunter sold for $564,000.

Heritage said this is the second largest Justh & Hunter bar attributed to the firm’s Marysville office. When originally cast, the gold had a value of $6,162.78

Bringing $376,000 was another Justh & Hunter ingot, this one from the San Francisco office. It weighs 179.50 ounces.

Heritage said, four other gold ingots ranging in size from 34.94 ounces to 152.96 ounces sold for prices in excess of $100,000.

An example of the rare 1884 Trade dollar graded Proof-63 by the Professional Coin Grading Service realized $423,000. Original mintage was 10 pieces.

Fetching $93,500 was a PCGS MS-66 1792 half disme. Only two examples grade higher.

All prices include a 17.5 percent buyer’s fee.

For more information about the auction, visit the firm’s website at

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today

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