A man who died in a climbing accident unknowingly bequeathed a valuable inheritance to his family – a rare coin struck after the turbulent birth of the United States.
The humble half-cent coin, minted in 1796, lay undiscovered for 50 years inside a matchbox before it was found by the family of Mark Hillary during a clean-out.
The coin fetched £225,700 ($353,000) at auction – 72 million times its original face value.
Only 1,400 of the coins were made at the Philadelphia Mint in the US.
Daniel Fearon, a coin consultant at Salisbury auctioneer’s Woolley and Wallis, which sold the half cent, said it was in good condition.
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