Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Rare penny from school lunch change up for auction

Rare penny from school lunch change up for auction

A similar coin auctioned in 2010 sold for $1.7 million.

For years, the USA government denied the striking error and any existence of the extremely rare coins. At the time, it was even falsely reported that Henry Ford would give a new vehicle to anyone who could provide him with one of the rare cents.

There were rumors at the time that the Ford Motor Company would offer the prize of a new auto to anyone who could give Henry Ford one of the copper pennies.

The U.S. Mint denied that any copper pennies were pressed, but reports began to circulate that the error coins were being found by the public.

He contacted Ford, who told him that they weren't giving out cars in exchange for the coins after all. Now, some 70 years later, the coin is being auctioned off. and the current highest bid is well over $100,000.

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A rare coin given to a high school boy as change from his lunch money is expected to fetch $2.3 million at auction. "All pennies struck in 1943 were zinc coated steal [sic]". Zinc-coated steel plates were "considerably harder" than those used in earlier designs, so penny pressers had to strike the blank steel coin much harder.

"In regard to recent inquiry, please be informed that copper pennies were not struck in 1943", the response read. Those planchets went unnoticed when the bins were refilled with zinc-coated steel planchets in 1943, Heritage Auctions said.

He kept it in his collection since then, but passed away in September.

"They eventually became dislodged and were fed into the coin press, along with the wartime steel blanks". The few resulting "copper" cents were lost in the flood of millions of "steel" cents struck in 1943 and escaped detection by the Mint's quality control measures.

Heritage Auctions will offer the coin from January 10-13 during its Florida United Numismatists Show in Orlando. They quietly slipped into circulation, to amaze collectors and confound Mint officials for years to come. Today, we know there are surviving examples from all three active mints, including 10 to 15 from Philadelphia, half a dozen from San Francisco, and just one from Denver.

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