Based Auction House Sells Rare Penny For More Than $200K

Lucky Lincoln: Rare 1943 Penny Could Fetch Over $1 Million at Auction

The coin is one of around 20 Lincoln pennies printed with a copper-looking surface, Fox News reported.

The penny is considered to have been made in error because in the 1940s, copper was meant to be reserved for wartime necessities such as shell casings and telephone wires.

Don Lutes Jr. kept the 1943 copper penny he stumbled upon in his high school cafeteria seven decades ago in a safe behind a wall in his MA home.

After being dispelled by the Treasury Department, Lutes chose to keep his 1943-branded coin for his personal collection. Made in error by the U.S. Mint, the penny is now going on auction and expected to reach over $2 million.

A penny is only worth one cent, but not this one!

Lutes' prized possession could fetch a pretty penny.

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Lutes knew his coin was rare and held on to it. PCGS CoinFacts, which offers information to all collectors of United States coins, estimates that there are only 10 to 15 such pennies. The auction for the coin is open through January 14.

All proceeds of the sale will go toward the Pittsfield Public Library, where auction officials say Lutes often visited before his death in September.

But after his health started to decline in 2018, Lutes, 87, chose to part ways with it to ensure it went "to a good home", according to his friend, Peter Karpenski.

Lutes also got in touch with the Treasury Department about his find.

With that, Lutes was sorely disappointed when he contacted the U.S. Treasury Department about the coin only to receive their standard reply: "In regard to your recent inquiry, please be informed that copper pennies were not struck in 1943".

A few bronze blanks were caught in the trap doors of the mobile tote bins that were used to feed the coin presses, and they were fed into the coin press along with the steel wartime blanks, auction officials said. The resulting "copper" cents were lost in the flood of millions of "steel" cents, escaped detection by the Mint's quality control measures, and quietly slipped into circulation. Zinc-coated steel plates were "considerably harder" than those used in earlier designs, so penny pressers had to strike the blank steel coin much harder.

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