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US half cent flogged for PS226k mint; COIN.

Byline: EUAN STRETCH

A RARE 200-year-old coin saved in a matchbox by a schoolboy collector has sold for PS225,700.

The 1796 copper half cent was one of just 1,400 minted in the US and is now worth 72 million times its face value.

It was part of a collection amassed as a boy by Mark Hillary, who was killed in a climbing accident in 1963, aged 20.

They stayed hidden in matchboxes at his former home for almost 50 years until members of his family had a clear-out.

They took 70 coins to the Salisbury-based Woolley & Wallis auctioneers, where an expert spotted the one inch half cent with Liberty pictured on one side.

The family of Mr Hillary, who was studying classics at Oxford when he died, were said to be "very excited and chuffed to bits" with the sale.

Auction house coin expert Daniel Fearon said: "It is a wonderful result."

CAPTION(S):

VALUABLE 1796 half cent
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 24, 2013
Words:160
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