"The coin became so famous that it was once falsely reported that Henry Ford would give a new vehicle to anyone who could provide him with a 1943 "copper" cent", Heritage says. It was found in MA in 1947.
Don Lutes, Jr., of Pittsfield, Massachusetts discovered a rare "copper" 1943 Lincoln Penny in his lunch money in 1947.
When he found one in cafeteria change in March that year, he was "old enough to remember the "steel" cents struck in 1943, which were still commonly seen in circulation at the time, so this copper-colored example aroused his curiosity", according to Heritage Auctions.More news: Gordon Ramsay faces Twitter wrath over sexual innuendos toward Sofia Vergara
Lutes died in September previous year, and the coin is now up for auction. His penny is now being auctioned by Heritage Auctions in Orlando, Florida.
A rare coin found by a high schooler in his lunch money has been valued at nearly $1.7million, following the owner's death. Little did he know, some 70 years later that handful of pennies would be worth hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of dollars.More news: McIlroy remains in contention in Hawaii
The penny is considered to have been made in error because in the 1940s, copper was meant to be reserved for wartime necessities such as shell casings and telephone wires. "All pennies struck in 1943 were zinc coated steal".
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. They eventually became dislodged and were fed into the coin press, along with the wartime steel blanks.
"In regard to recent inquiry, please be informed that copper pennies were not struck in 1943", the response read. Buoyed by the Henry Ford rumor, he contacted the auto firm, but they informed him it was false. 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. The Treasury switched to minting pennies out of steel.More news: Is it too late to get a flu shot?
Heritage Auctions now lists Lutes's authentic 1943 Lincoln cent at a whopping $130,000, which jumps to $156,000 with the added Buyer's Premium. "As a coin collector, he set the coin aside for future study, but did not publicize his find until years later".