A tiny piece of change brought in some big money recently. The 1870-S half dime is a small silver coin struck at the San Francisco Mint in 1870. The coin was sold as part of a New Jersey man's collection of 93 mint-condition half dimes to Laura Sperber, President of Legend Numismatics of Lincroft, New Jersey. The entire collection went for $2.2 million and the 1870-S has a value of $1.4 million.
This tiny coin, a forerunner to the modern nickel, was not even known to exist until 1978. There were plans to create the coin but Mint records showed that no 1870-dated half dimes were made at San Francisco Mint. Then in 1978 this coin turned up in Chicago. It was sold for $425,000 and changed hands several times since then. It has been certified genuine by Professional Coin Grading Service of Newport Beach, California.
What's really interesting is that Sperber and Legend Numismatics originally bought the coin for $661,250 at an auction in 2004 and then sold to the New Jersey collector. The company re-purchased it five years later for more than double that price, and has already sold it along with the New Jersey man's other half dimes for an undisclosed amount.