Rare penny could be worth more than $1 million

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

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.

A rare Lincoln-head penny a MA teenager received in change for his school lunch is up for auction with a starting bid of $100,000.

"This is the most famous error coin in American numismatics, and that's what makes this so exciting", Miller told Fox News.

Where has the penny been all these years?

A popular rumor among collectors at the time claimed Henry Ford was offering to trade a new vehicle for one of the rare "copper" pennies struck in 1943, but Lutes chose to just keep the coin after contacting the Ford Motor Company and discovering the offer was nothing but an urban legend.

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

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Mr Lutes died in September, and the coin up for auction until January 10.

Rumors began to swirl about the Mint's mishap as soon as the coins were released.

"Stories appearing in newspapers, comic books, and magazines sparked a nationwide search for these reported rarities by schoolchildren, bank tellers, and citizens from all walks of life". But talk of the existence of rare copper pennies made that year soon emerged, and rumors swirled that auto giant Henry Ford would give a vehicle to anyone who could present him with one of the specimens. Lutes heard this rumor and inquired with Ford Motor Company, but they set the record straight, denying that Ford had many any such promise.

He also contacted the Treasury Department about his penny. "All pennies struck in 1943 were zinc coated steel". "All pennies struck in 1943 were zinc coated steal". Lutes even tried to get the authenticity of his penny verified by the Treasury Department.

When did the Mint admit its mistake?

The penny was put up for auction, and as of Wednesday morning, January 9, the bid was at $120,000. Those planchets went unnoticed when the bins were refilled with zinc-coated steel planchets in 1943, Heritage Auctions said. When they became dislodged, they were printed and circulated with the millions of steel copies. They quietly slipped into circulation, to amaze collectors and confound Mint officials for years to come.

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