Sunday, 24 March, 2019

Rare penny found in 1947 could be worth more than $1 million

Heritage Auctions Heritage Auctions
Jean Garcia | 10 January, 2019, 15:14

It was even reported, falsely, that Henry Ford would give a new auto to anyone who provided one of the rare coins to him. It was found in MA in 1947.

Less than 20 of the rare 1943 Lincoln pennies were made, due to an error.

A penny is only worth a cent, but not one found in MA in 1947. But as his health declined previous year, Lutes made a decision to sell the coin, said Peter Karpenski, a friend and fellow coin collector.

A penny that a MA teenager found in his change from lunch money could be worth as much as $1.65 million (£1.3 million) when it is auctioned off.

"The few resulting "copper" cents were lost in the flood of millions of "steel" cents struck in 1943 and escaped detection by the Mint's quality control measures", Heritage Auctions said.

Copper was named a strategic material in the lead up and 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.

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"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", the auction house wrote on its website. Buoyed by the Henry Ford rumor, he contacted the auto firm, but they informed him it was false. The Treasury switched to minting pennies out of steel. "All pennies struck in 1943 were zinc-coated steel".

Around the end of 1942, a small number of bronze planchets - a plain metal disk that is stamped as a coin - got caught in the trap doors of the mobile tote bins used to feed the blanks into the Mint's coin presses, according to Heritage Auctions.

Only a handful of such coins have ever been discovered, according to Heritage Auctions.

Now, the penny could sell for over $1 million. To save rations, the Treasury Department at the time authorized the US Mint to strike 1943 cents on zinc-coated steel plates, known as planchets, rather than on copper blanks.

Between 10 to 15 of the coins with a copper appearance made in facilities including the Mints of Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver are thought to exist today.

No need to pinch pennies when it comes to this coin. "As a coin collector, he set the coin aside for future study, but did not publicize his find until years later".

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