Rare 1943 penny sells for $200,000, far below expectations

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More than seven decades ago, a MA teenager found a 1943 Lincoln penny in his lunch change and he made a decision to hang on to it until his death just a few months ago.

A rare 1943 bronze Lincoln penny has sold for more than $200,000 at a Florida auction.

Don Lutes Jr. found this rare penny in 1947. Luckily for Lutes, he kept it in his collection.

"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.

A rare coin found by a high schooler in his lunch money has been valued at nearly $1.7million, following the owner's death.

Lincoln pennies produced in 1943 were meant to be made from zinc-coated steel, but a handful of coins put into circulation used copper instead.

The legend of the penny only grew when a rumor spread saying that Henry Ford would award a new vehicle to whoever could provide him with one of the fabled coins.

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Lutes' prized possession could fetch a pretty penny.

Heritage Auctions will offer the coin from January 10-13 during its Florida United Numismatists Show in Orlando.

Lutes knew his coin was rare and held on to it. 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.

Lutes's coin, now verified, will remain on auction until January 10, according to Fox News. After Lutes's health started to decline, he moved to a nursing home.

All proceeds of the sale will go to the Pittsfield Public Library where, auction officials say, Lutes often visited.

He also contacted the Treasury Department about his penny.

It seems that a small number of bronze planchets was caught in the trap doors of the mobile tote bins used to feed blanks into the Mint's coin presses at the end of 1942. 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. Lutes died in September 2018 at the age of 87, according to Miller.