Economy

Rare 1943 copper coin could fetch a pretty penny in auction

Rare 1943 copper coin could fetch a pretty penny in auction

Bids for the coin is now at $100,000 but another 1943 copper cent was sold by a New Jersey dealer to an anonymous buyer for $1.7 million in 2010.

Lutes Jr heard the rumors but was told they were false so kept the coin for his collection.

More than seven decades ago, a MA teenager found a 1943 Lincoln penny in his lunch change and he made a decision to hang on to it until his death just a few months ago.

"The coin became so famous that it was once falsely reported that Henry Ford would give a new vehicle to anyone who could provide him with a 1943 "copper" cent", Heritage says. He also contacted the Treasury Department about his find but the Mint steadfastly denied any copper specimens had been struck in 1943.

The coin was one of just 20 created by the US Mint in 1943 with a copper-looking surface, Heritage Auctions, who is selling off the coin after Mr Lutes' recent death, explained on its website. Buoyed by the Henry Ford rumor, he contacted the vehicle firm, but they informed him it was false. "All pennies struck in 1943 were zinc coated steal [sic]".

Lutes knew his coin was rare and held on to it.

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Heritage Auctions will offer the coin from January 10-13 during its Florida United Numismatists Show in Orlando. The auction ends Thursday, and the current bid stands at $130,000.

Lutes's coin, now verified, will remain on auction until January 10, according to Fox News.

The World War II collector's item is "one of the most valuable coins in American history", according to Heritage Auctions.

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.

However, a few of the copper planchets that were used to cast the Lincoln cent in 1942 got lodged in a trap door of a bin used to feed blanks into the press. Legit prints of the coin have been found from all three active U.S. Mints: 10-15 from the Philadelphia Mint, six from the San Francisco Mint and one from the Denver Mint. It's thought it could fetch over $200,000, though it's so rare, a previous one sold for $1.7 million.