$204K paid for rare, auctioned penny; proceeds will go to Pittsfield library

Set of old shells from World War II

Set of old shells from World War II

A rare penny found back in 1947 is proving to be much more than one cent.

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

In 1943, the Treasury Department requested the U.S. Mint create Lincoln pennies on steel planchets coated with zinc in order to preserve cooper for use in the Second World War.

A rare coin given to a high school boy as change from his lunch money is expected to fetch $2.3 million at auction. But on a hunch, Lutes kept it in his collection.

A rare copper penny that a MA man found in his lunch money more than 70 years ago has been auctioned for more than $200,000.

A similar coin auctioned in 2010 sold for $1.7 million. At the time, it was even falsely reported that Henry Ford would give a new auto to anyone who could provide him with one of the rare cents.

Experts say to look for a very sharply engraved penny.

Sarah Miller from Heritage Auctions told Fox News, "This is the most famous error coin in American numismatics, and that's what makes this so exciting".

Eric Bradley, a spokesman for Heritage Auctions, said the coin far exceeded its pre-auction estimate of $170,000.

But after his health started to decline in 2018, Lutes, 87, chose to part ways with it to ensure it went "to a good home", according to his friend, Peter Karpenski.

All proceeds of the sale will go toward the Pittsfield Public Library, where auction officials say Lutes often visited before his death in September.

The teenager held on to the penny, thinking he would sell it one day.

Lutes had asked the Treasury Department about the penny he found.

However, it was later revealed that some bronze planchets were mistakenly left in machinery and pressed.

"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. They quietly slipped into circulation, to amaze collectors and confound Mint officials for years to come.

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