Published: January 11, 2019
ORLANDO, FLORIDA — A rare 1943 Lincoln cent found in a high school teen’s pocket change sold for $204,000 Thursday evening, January 10, at a public auction of U.S. coins held at the Florida United Numismatics (FUN) Convention auction conducted by Heritage Auctions. More than 30 bids pushed the rare coin past its estimate of $170,000.
The rarity was mistakenly minted in bronze, instead of zinc-coated steel, which was the way the mint was supposed to save copper and bronze to fill metal shortages during World War II. At the time, the United States Mint steadfastly denied such coins existed, until the truth came out in 1947 after teenager Don Lutes found the first bronze Lincoln cent in pocket change from his high school cafeteria in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Only 10 to 15 examples of a 1943 bronze Lincoln cent are known to exist.
“This is the first time this coin has ever appeared at auction since Mr. Lutes found it when he was 16 years old,” said Sarah Miller, a director of numismatics at Heritage Auctions, who is responsible for bringing the rare coin to auction. “Collectors love obscurities and oddities, so it doesn’t get better than this.”
A full review of the FUN auctions will appear in a future issue. For more information, www.ha.com or 877-437-4824.
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