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

Lloyd Doyle
January 10, 2019

A penny is only worth one cent, but not this one! It was found in MA in 1947.

One penny, in particular, is now dubbed the "most famous error coin" by Heritage Auctions, who is auctioning the penny.

Don Lutes Jr. was a 16-year-old high school student in MA when he stumbled across one of the most famous error coins in American history in the cafeteria in 1947.

The penny is now up for auction and as of Wednesday morning the current bid was $120,000.

During World War II, cooper was needed for wartime necessities like bullets and wire. All cents were supported to be made with zinc-coated steel in order to conserve copper for the war effort.

The pennies "captured the imagination of coin collectors, school children, and members of the general public alike", but alluded even the most persistent collectors; only a handful of legitimate specimens have turned up in the following seven decades - including the one belonging to Don Lutes Jr, who passed away in September.

"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", according to the auction house's website.


When he inquired with the US Treasury about the coin's value, he was told that it was "fraudulent" and all pennies issued in 1943 were made from zinc-coated steel.

Around the end of 1942, a small number of bronze planchets - a plain metal disk that is stamped as a coin - got caught in the trap doors of the mobile tote bins used to feed the blanks into the Mint's coin presses, according to Heritage Auctions. Lutes heard this rumor and inquired with Ford Motor Company, but they set the record straight, denying that Ford had many any such promise. The Treasury switched to minting pennies out of steel.

"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 said.

Lutes's coin, now verified, will remain on auction until January 10, according to Fox News.

No need to pinch pennies when it comes to this coin.

Around 10 years after Lutes had given up on trying to monetize his find, a 14-year-old from California had his coin authenticated and placed in the 1958 ANA Convention Auction.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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