Rare penny found in Pittsfield selling for $120,000

Heritage Auctions

Lutes got the coin authenticated in 1958 by Walter Breen during a New England Numismatic Association convention in Worcester. It was found in MA in 1947.

Made of copper, the 1943 Lincoln penny is described as the "most famous" coin made in error.

Back in 1947, a 16-year-old MA teenager, Don Lutes Jr, held out his hand at the school cafeteria for change after paying for his meal.

Lutes died in September a year ago, and the coin is now up for auction. Now, some 70 years later, the coin is being auctioned off. and the current highest bid is well over $100,000.

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. It is expected to fetch up to $1.65 million at auction.

Lutes's cent was pressed in 1943 amid World War II, when copper was an integral component in making wartime necessities like phone wire and bullet casings.

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

"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 Heritage Auctions. "All pennies struck in 1943 were zinc coated steal [sic]".

He contacted Ford, who told him that they weren't giving out cars in exchange for the coins after all. Examples of 1943 bronze cents are known from all three active U.S. Mints today, with 10-15 examples known from the Philadelphia Mint, a half dozen specimens confirmed from the San Francisco facility, and a single coin from the Denver Mint. They eventually became dislodged and were fed into the coin press, along with the wartime steel blanks.

Eventually, Lutes gave up trying to cash in on his coin and it stayed in his collection until his death in September. "All pennies struck in 1943 were zinc coated steel".

"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. "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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