Rare coin found in boy's lunchbox worth $2.4 million

A man's rare penny he kept for decades could be worth over $1 million

A man's rare penny he kept for decades could be worth over $1 million

Sarah Miller of Heritage Auctions told SWNS (via Fox): "This is the most famous error coin in American numismatics and that's what makes this so exciting".

For years, the US government denied the striking error and any existence of the extremely rare coins.

The legend of the penny only grew when a rumor spread saying that Henry Ford would award a new auto to whoever could provide him with one of the fabled coins.

The Mint denied issuing any copper coins but speculation grew about the existence of the rare pennies, with auto manufacturer Henry Ford stating he would give a new vehicle to anyone who could source one for him.

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.

A popular rumor among collectors at the time claimed Henry Ford was offering to trade a new auto for one of the rare "copper" pennies struck in 1943, but Lutes made a decision to just keep the coin after contacting the Ford Motor Company and discovering the offer was nothing but an urban legend.

Lutes also asked the Treasury Department about the coin, but the Mint denied that there were any copper pennies minted in 1943. Buoyed by the Henry Ford rumor, he contacted the auto firm, but they informed him it was false. Over the years, after many inquiries and attempts to buy it, he contacted the US Treasury, but was told the coin was "fraudulent" and that all 1943 pennies were zinc coated steel, with no exceptions.

The penny was put up for auction, and as of Wednesday morning, January 9, the bid was at $120,000.

It seems that a small number of bronze planchets was caught in the trap doors of the mobile tote bins used to feed blanks into the Mint's coin presses at the end of 1942. He kept it in his collection for decades, but sold it before passing away in September.

"They eventually became dislodged and were fed into the coin press, along with the wartime steel blanks". The resulting "copper" cents were lost in the flood of millions of "steel" cents, escaped detection by the Mint's quality control measures, and quietly slipped into circulation. "This lot represents a true "once in a lifetime" opportunity". "PCGS CoinFacts estimates the surviving population at no more than 10-15 examples in all grades".

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