Rare Penny Sold for $200,000

Lauren Beickert, Coin Collector

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During World War II, bronze and copper were being saved to fill metal shortages, so pennies were made out of steel. Well, in 1943, 10 to 15 pennies were accidentally minted in bronze, instead of steel. A man named Don Lutes Jr. from Pittsfield, Massachusetts said that when he was a teenager in 1947, he got change back from his high school cafeteria, and saw a copper-colored penny that aroused his curiosity since he knew the steel pennies struck in 1943. Lutes decided to ask the Treasury Department about the coin, but they responded with, “In regard to your recent inquiry, please be informed that copper pennies were not struck in 1943. All pennies struck in 1943 were zinc coated steel.” Even after that statement, Lutes still held on to the coin until he approached Heritage Auctions about selling it in 2018, hoping to donate the profits to his local library. On January 10th, 2019, the penny was up for auction in Florida, and more than 30 people bid on the rare coin. It ended up selling for more than $200,000 and all the proceeds were directed to the Berkshire Athenaeum at the public library in Pittsfield.