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

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

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

A Lincoln cent from "the most famous" coin error in American history is being auctioned off for well over $100,000. That year, the one-cent coin was supposed to be struck in steel so to preserve copper for more high priority-uses during World War II. But a handful of the coins were mistakenly pressed with copper and Don Lutes Jr. discovered one of them in his change from his MA high school lunch in the forties. Lutes passed away in September, and the penny is now set to be auctioned off by Heritage Auctions, with the current bid at $130,000. The auction for the rare coin is slated to end on Thursday. It is expected to fetch up to $1.65 million at auction.

MA native Don Lutes Jr., who died in September, found a 1943 copper Lincoln penny in his lunch money change back in 1947.

The penny was produced accidentally in 1943, according to Heritage Auctions, where aspiring buyers are bidding on the coin.

"Stories appeared in newspapers, comic books, and magazines and a number of fake copper-plated steel cents were passed off as fabulous rarities to unsuspecting purchasers", according to the auction house's website.

He contacted Ford, who told him that they weren't giving out cars in exchange for the coins after all.

And despite a growing number of reported finds, the Mint "steadfastly denied any copper specimens had been struck in 1943", Heritage Auctions wrote.

Heritage Auctions now lists Lutes's authentic 1943 Lincoln cent at a whopping $130,000, which jumps to $156,000 with the added Buyer's Premium. "All pennies struck in 1943 were zinc-coated steel". However, an accident at the U.S. Mint led to the creation of just a handful of copper pennies, which mixed in with the flood of zinc-coated steel coins being sent out. 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. They quietly slipped into circulation, to amaze collectors and confound Mint officials for years to come.

So, Lutes stopped marketing the coin, and added it to his personal collection where it has remained until now. Examples of 1943 bronze cents are known from all three active U.S. Mints today, with 10-15 examples known from the Philadelphia Mint, a half dozen specimens confirmed from the San Francisco facility, and a single coin from the Denver Mint.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.