In 1947, a teenager from Massachusetts was given a handful of coins from his school cafeteria. A kind of coins might herald six figures at an upcoming public sale. The rare coin was mistakenly minted in copper in 1943 when all U.S. cents had been speculated to be made from zinc-coated steel – copper was wanted to supply bullets and wire for the World War II effort, in response to Heritage Auctions, which is promoting the coin. “That is probably the most well-known error coin in American numismatics, and that is what makes this so thrilling: Nobody is aware of what it’ll promote for,” Sarah Miller, a director of numismatics at Heritage Auctions, mentioned in an announcement.
Quickly after the swap to steel cents was made, tales a couple of small variations of 1943 copper pennies started to flow into, the public sale home mentioned. Rumors swirled that Henry Ford would give a brand new automobile to anybody who discovered one of many cash. A couple of years later, 16-year-previous Don Lutes Jr., of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, found one such coin in his pocket change. Miller informed USA TODAY he knew the coin was particular as a result of he was a collector.
He checked with the Ford Motor Co. concerning the new automobile, however, was informed the rumor was false. When he requested the Treasury Department concerning the coin, he hit one other lifeless finish: “Concerning your latest inquiry, please be told that copper pennies weren’t struck in 1943. All pennies struck in 1943 have been zinc coated metal.”
Miller mentioned Lutes held on to the penny till he approached Heritage about promoting it in 2018, hoping to share it with different collectors and donate the income to his native library. She mentioned he handed away earlier than the coin may go up for public sale, “however his legacy lives on by the joy.” The penny will go on sale Thursday by Sunday in Orlando, Florida. Heritage Auctions estimates the coin could go for upwards of $170,000. One other 1943 bronze cent minted in Denver bought for a report $1.7 million in 2010. That coin was one in all a sort, Miller mentioned, leading to a lot larger price ticket. Miller estimates there are about 10-20 different cash like Lutes’, which was minted in Philadelphia.