Rare coin found in boy's lunchbox worth $2.4 million

Ivan Schwartz
January 10, 2019

The current high bid for the coin is $100,000.

Following government orders to preserve copper for the war effort, the mint began creating Lincoln pennies on steel planchets coated with zinc in 1943.

Lutes took the Treasury statement for fact and kept the penny in his personal collection.

The auction house says Don Lutes Jr., who died previous year, discovered the coin among change he received from his high school cafeteria in 1947.

Those bronze planchets then fed into the coin press, leading to the creation of several coins that were "lost in the flood of millions of "steel" cents struck in 1943".

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.

"Despite the mounting number of reported finds, the Mint steadfastly denied any copper specimens had been struck in 1943", Heritage Auctions added, referring to the US Mint, which produces coinage for the US.

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"This lot represents a true "once in a lifetime" opportunity", said Heritage Auctions.

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

High school student Don Lutes, Jr., of MA, came across one by chance - back in 1947.

A penny found by a MA teen and which was mistakenly made from copper in 1943 is considered so rare that it is likely to fetch up to $1.7million at auction.

The coin, produced accidentally by the U.S. Mint, has been described as the "most famous" coin made in error, according to Heritage Auctions.

He contacted Ford, who told him that they weren't giving out cars in exchange for the coins after all. "All pennies struck in 1943 were zinc coated steal". When they became dislodged, they were printed and circulated with the millions of steel copies. However, in 2010, one certified by the Professional Coin Grading Service was sold for a record $1.7 million by Legend Numismatics. PCGS CoinFacts, which offers information to all collectors of United States coins, estimates that there are only 10 to 15 such pennies.

Other reports by GizPress

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