Fortune in pennies: Large cent collection commands almost $6.5 million

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Theyre tiny coins worth big money. Thats what the first sale of Tom Reynolds collection of large cents proved Jan. 31 when 332 cents (plus two limited-edition catalogs) brought in almost $6.5 million. Thats a rough average of about $19,000 per coin. The value of the entire collection is estimated at more than $10 million altogether.

Reynolds began collecting coins in the 1950s and became more serious in later decades, specializing in copper coins. His career in the insurance industry eventually gave way to full-time pursuit of his investments of passion: numismatic coins. He decided to sell the collection before his death rather than leave the task to his heirs.

The Jan. 31 sale included Flowing Hair cents, Draped Bust cents, Classic Head cents, and Liberty Cap cents. Several of his top coins broke the six-figure barrier. Here are some of the standout specimens, each carrying an added 17.5% buyers fee:

A 1793 Flowing Hair Wreath cent, an S-9 Vine and Bars Edge certified at MS65+ Brown PCGS with CAC sticker, commanded $193,875.

A 1793 Flowing Hair Chain cent (Sheldon 2 variety), graded as AU53 PCGS with CAC sticker, brought in $141,000.

A 1793 Wreath cent, S-10 R4, Vine and Bars Edge, graded at MS64 Brown plus CAC sticker, won a bid of $92,500.

An 1809 Classic Head cent, S-280 R2 Large 9 over Small 9, graded by PCGS as MS64 Brown with CAC sticker, topped its category with a winning bid of $110,000.

A 1795 Liberty Cap cent, S-76b R1 Plain Edge, certified MS66 BR by PCGS with CAC sticker, drew a winning bid of $67,500.

An 1801 Draped Bust cent, certified as MS64 Red Brown by PCGS, snagged a winning bid of $97,500.

A 1798 Draped Bust cent, S-155 R3 Style I Hair, Small 8, Reverse of 1795, graded by PCGS at MS65 Brown, also snagged a bid of $97,500.