The very first Half Cent to sell for over one million dollars was the remarkable MS67 Red & Brown example illustrated above. Not only is this a rare variety, but it is the finest, reddest (is that a word?) of any Liberty Cap Half Cent. In January 2014, this coin sold in the Goldbergs sale of the Missouri Cabinet for $1.15 million. To give you an idea of how prices have advanced, this coin could have been bought in 1977 for $22,000 (the lowest price asked by Fred Weinberg in one of his ads). I remember seeing the coin back then, wishing I had the money to buy it, and regretting the missed opportunity, especially after seeing its value today.
Fred Weinberg purchased this coin in Basel Switzerland in 1975. How this coin ended up in Switzerland is unknown, but it is not such a remarkable occurrence. In fact, many of the very best early Half Cents and Large Cents (and other U.S. coins) have been discovered in Europe. Apparently, America had quite a few visitors from Europe who brought coins back with them when they returned home.
Discovered in Basel, Switzerland, in early 1975, sold privately for approximately $1,200 - Fred Weinberg (Numismatics, Ltd.), advertised in Coin World 8/17/1977 and 5/24/1978 - Julian Leidman - R. Tettenhorst - Eric P. Newman Education Society/Missouri Cabinet (Mocab 94.7.4) - Goldbergs 1/2014:20, $1,150,000 - Larry Hanks and Richard Burdick - D. Brent Pogue Collection - Stack's/Bowers 2/2016:3004, $940,000