An 1861 Confederate States of America restrike cent sold for $16,380 during the Aug. 31 auction by Bonhams.
The piece, graded Proof 61 Brown by NGC, was estimated at $15,000 to $20,000.
The copper piece was designed by Robert Lovett Jr. and features the head of Minerva facing left on the obverse. The reverse displays “a wealth of distinctive Southern agricultural products, including a bale of cotton at the bottom.”
The catalog cites the traditional story of the Confederate cent, noting that Lovett struck 12 pieces with his dies, but he “soon had second thoughts, and fearing arrest by Union authorities for aiding the Confederates, he cancelled the project and concealed the dies and the dozen coins.”
Time passed and in 1873 Lovett accidentally spent the one of the coins he’d kept as a pocket piece, according to the story behind the coin. Soon Capt. John W. Hazeltine and his associate J. Colvin Randall learned of the existence of the piece and made a plan to produce restrikes.
Seven gold, 12 silver and 55 copper restrikes were made; the piece in the auction is among the 55 copper restrikes.
For more information, visit the firm’s website at www.bonhams.com.