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

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

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

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. 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.

Lutes died in September past year, and the coin is now up for auction.

Sarah Miller of Heritage Auctions told SWNS (via Fox): "This is the most famous error coin in American numismatics and that's what makes this so exciting". It's thought it could fetch over $200,000, though it's so rare, a previous one sold for $1.7 million.

A similar penny sold was sold by a New Jersey dealer for $1.7 million in back in 2010, UPI reported at the time.

Don Lutes, Jr., of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, found the bronze 1943 Lincoln cent in the change he was given at his school cafeteria in 1947, according to sellers Heritage Auctions.

There were rumors at the time that the Ford Motor Company would offer the prize of a new vehicle to anyone who could give Henry Ford one of the copper pennies.

"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 Heritage Auctions website.

But when Lutes contacted the Ford Motor Company, he was told the rumor was false.

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

However, a few of the copper planchets that were used to cast the Lincoln cent in 1942 got lodged in a trap door of a bin used to feed blanks into the press.

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".

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

So, Lutes stopped marketing the coin, and added it to his personal collection where it has remained until now. They quietly slipped into circulation, to amaze collectors and confound Mint officials for years to come. Legit prints of the coin have been found from all three active U.S. Mints: 10-15 from the Philadelphia Mint, six from the San Francisco Mint and one from the Denver Mint.