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POSTED April 20, 2012 9:24 p.m.

RARE 1792 PENNY SELLS FOR $1.15 MILLION: SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (AP) — When is a penny worth $1.15 million? When it is a rare experimental penny minted in 1792.

The unusual coin was auctioned off Thursday at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center in suburban Chicago.

Officials with Heritage Auctions say Kevin Lipton of Beverly Hills, Calif., bought the penny on behalf of a group of unnamed investors. The winning bid was $1 million, but the investors also must pay the auction house's 15 percent commission.

The coin is made from copper and incases a small plug of silver.

The silver was added to make the penny heavier, said Todd Imhof, executive vice president of Heritage Auctions. On one side of the coin, a depiction of Miss Liberty is ringed by the phrase "Liberty Parent of Science & Industry." The back of the coin reads "United States of America One Cent."

"After 200 years, we can only account for 14 of these," said Imhof, who added that the penny was never actually put into circulation.

The same coin was last sold at a public auction in 1974, when it went for $105,000.

MORE SECRET SERVICE AGENTS GONE: WASHINGTON (AP) — Three more Secret Service officers resigned Friday in the expanding prostitution scandal that has brought scorching criticism of agents' behavior in Colombia just before President Barack Obama's visit for a summit meeting last week. Agency Director Mark Sullivan came to the White House late Friday to personally brief Obama in the Oval Office.

The Secret Service announced the new resignations, bringing to six the number of agency officers who have lost their jobs so far because of events at their hotel in Cartagena.

An additional Secret Service employee was implicated Friday, a government official said, commenting only on condition of anonymity concerning the continuing investigation..

WIS. GIVES $765,000 IN BONUSES DESPITE BUDGET HOLE: MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker established a program that has given hundreds of thousands of dollars in merit raises and bonuses to some state workers even as he preached cost-cutting and pushed through a law reducing most public workers' pay and eliminating their union rights.

An analysis of data The Associated Press obtained through an open records request showed Wisconsin agencies have handed out more than $765,000 in bonuses and merit raises this year to nearly 220 employees.

The awards are meant to reward stellar performance. But they come as the state faces a $143 million shortfall and after thousands of state workers took pay cuts through provisions in the collective bargaining law requiring them to contribute more to their pensions and health care.

Walker, who faces a June 5 recall election prompted by anger over the collective bargaining law, prides himself on fiscal restraint.

MEXICO PREPS SHELTERS AS VOLCANO ROARS, SPEWS ASH: XALITZINTLA, Mexico (AP) — The white-capped volcano that looms over Mexico City emitted a terrifying low-pitched roar Friday and spewed roiling towers of ash and steam as it vented the pressure built up by a massive chamber of magma beneath its slopes. Authorities prepared evacuation routes, ambulances and shelters in the event of a bigger explosion.

Even a large eruption of the 17,886-foot (5,450-meter) cone of Popocatepetl is unlikely to do more than dump ash on one of the world's largest metropolitan areas. But the grit could play havoc with Mexico City's busy airport, and tens of thousands of people in the farming villages on its flanks could be forced to flee.

Popo, as it's commonly known, has put out small eruptions of ash almost daily since a round of eruptive activity began in 1994.

 

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