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giftedviz.com January 19, 2019


Rare penny found in Pittsfield selling for $120,000

10 January 2019, 06:41 | Austin Hogan

Rare 1943 bronze penny could fetch over $1 million at auction. Heritage Auctions

Rare 1943 bronze penny could fetch over $1 million at auction.             
    Heritage Auctions

High school student Don Lutes, Jr., of MA, came across one by chance - back in 1947. 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 small number of copper pennies were created by mistake.

Only 20 of the coins were ever produced, making them a "holy grail" item for rare coin collectors.

No need to pinch pennies when it comes to this coin.

After Lutes passed away in September, his coin was given its eye-watering potential value.

- Now that's a pretty penny.

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.

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. The auction ends Thursday, and the current bid stands at $130,000.

"What makes this so exciting is that it's the only time ever in history when the discovery coin for this piece has been available for sale".

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"While a number of other examples have surfaced over the years, no other specimen has been celebrated and written about as much as this remarkable coin", said Heritage Auctions.

The rare penny is one of about 15 copper coins that were accidentally minted by the Department of the Treasury in 1943. These few planchets went unnoticed when the bins were refilled with zinc-coated steel planchets in 1943.

"They eventually became dislodged and were fed into the coin press, along with the wartime steel blanks".

The Mint denied issuing any copper coins but speculation grew about the existence of the rare pennies, with auto manufacturer Henry Ford stating he would give a new vehicle to anyone who could source one for him.

Copper pennies from that year typically don't look very different from the coin as it appears today, but it does look different from the ones manufactured in 1943.

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

A US Army veteran, he would amass some 50,000 coins by the 1970s when he retired from the family manufacturing business, according to Karpenski.



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