Rare 1796 U.S. Half-Cent Coin Belonging To Deceased Mountain Climber Fetches $357,000 At Auction: A rare U.S. half-cent coin from 1796 fetched $357,000 at auction this week. The piece also carries a fascinating backstory about how it remained hidden for 50 years. The Numismatic Financial Corporation, a Florida-based coin seller, purchased the sought-after coin, auction house Woolley and Wallis of Salisbury, England, announced in a Jan. 22 release. The corporation already owns four other half-cent coins of far less value from the period, according to its website. Its new “Liberty Cap” acquisition is among 1,390 of its kind, struck at the Philadelphia Mint, and among a mere handful in its condition, the auctioneer explained on its site.