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A record $1.38 million was paid yesterday for a one cent copper coin at an auction in Florida. The coin is a 1793 'chain' penny from the first year the US Mint made coins. Only a couple hundred are known to still exist and none in this fine condition. When it comes to coins it's all about condition and rarity. This particular coin hit all the marks; first year of the mint, it's 'uncirculated' condition and very few of the coins were produced.
The coin is called the 'chain' cent because of the linking ring chain design on the back. The linking chain design was meant to symbolize the solidarity of the states but was criticized because some thought the chains could represent slavery. The design was soon changed to a wreath in response to the critics.
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