A coin worth fifty cents when it was minted 181 years ago could go for half a million dollars at auction this week.
The coin is known as an 1838-O Capped Bust Half Dollar. Only 20 of them were made during that year, after which yellow fever closed the New Orleans mint at which they were made. The plant was further shuttered by production issues, and the half-dollars never resumed production.
It is believed that only 11 of the coins still exist. The one going on auction this week is called the Cox Specimen. Even if it were it to fetch five hundred thousand dollars, it still wouldn’t be the most expensive of its kind to have been auctioned. One coin sold for $763,750 five years ago.