Rare 1943 Copper Lincoln Penny Found by Massachusetts Teen: Lucky Lunch Proved to Be Worth $1.7 Million

Madhurima Sarkar
This one coin was found by Don Lutes Jr. in his school cafeteria in March 1947.

Some small pieces of copper can sometimes worth enormous amounts. At recent, a penny plucked from a school boy’s pocket is making the headlines speculated to worth million dollars when it is auctioned off. It was found by a Massachusetts teenager in his lunch who at the time decided to keep it for its unique appearance. He kept it for more than seven decades now until his recent death, without ever knowing it may be one of the most valuable US coins of all time. According to media reports, the lucky piece of copper could fetch up to 1.7 million dollars (above Rs. 11.9 crores) when it is auctioned later this week. World's Rarest Bird Thought to Extinct for a Decade Comes Back to Natural Habitat With the Help of Rescue Teams. 

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Know Everything About 1943 copper, Lincoln Penny

Wondering why it is so highly valued? Well at first, it is a 1943 Abraham Lincoln penny, and during that time it was made in error. Fox News reported that only 20 coins were ever made and for years the U.S. government denied its existence. This one coin was found by Don Lutes Jr. in his school cafeteria in March 1947, according to Heritage Auctions. “Despite relentless searching by eager collectors over a period of more than 70 years, only a handful of legitimate specimens have ever been discovered,” Heritage wrote on its website.

“PCGS CoinFacts estimates the surviving population at no more than 10-15 examples in all grades. We have compiled a roster of all specimens certified by the two leading grading services below, including an unknown number of resubmissions and crossovers,” it reads further. First Couple Grave Discovered in Harappan Cemetery at Rakhigari by Pune's Deccan University. 

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In the 1940s, copper was considered a strategic metal because of World War II. During that time, it was used to make shell casings, telephone wire and other wartime necessities. To preserve the metal, 1943 Lincoln pennies were made of zinc-coated steel, but only a small fraction of the same was put into circulation. The auction further noted, “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.” At the time, Lutes was only 16, but when he was told it was false, he decided to keep the coin for himself in his collection.

Over the years, he received offers for the coin and was even inquired with the United States. But he was told it was fraudulent and that all the pennies struck in 1943 were zinc coated steel. Fox News noted that Lutes passed away in September 2018 and now the coin is going up for auction.