All US pennies were supposed to be made of zinc-coated steel that year to conserve the copper needed for wartime essentials like shell casings and telephone wire, according to Heritage Auctions, a Dallas-based auction house.
Lutes Jr heard the rumors but was told they were false so kept the coin for his collection.
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.
Those bronze planchets then fed into the coin press, leading to the creation of several coins that were "lost in the flood of millions of "steel" cents struck in 1943".
The penny was produced accidentally in 1943, according to Heritage Auctions, where aspiring buyers are bidding on the coin.
Don Lutes, Jr., of Pittsfield, Massachusetts discovered a rare "copper" 1943 Lincoln Penny in his lunch money in 1947. Lutes even tried to get the authenticity of his penny verified by the Treasury Department. Lutes had reached out to the Ford company about his find, but he was informed the rumor wasn't true.
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Heritage Auctions now lists Lutes's authentic 1943 Lincoln cent at a whopping $130,000, which jumps to $156,000 with the added Buyer's Premium. The auction ends Thursday, and the current bid stands at $130,000.
In a statement obtained by multiple media sources, Sarah Miller of Heritage Auctions said, "This is the most famous error coin in American numismatics, and that's what makes this so exciting: No one really knows what it's going to sell for".
"Despite the mounting number of reported finds, the Mint steadfastly denied any copper specimens had been struck in 1943", Heritage Auctions added, referring to the US Mint, which produces coinage for the US. When they became dislodged, they were printed and circulated with the millions of steel copies.
The teenager held on to the penny, thinking he would sell it one day.
Between 10 to 15 of the coins with a copper appearance made in facilities including the Mints of Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver are thought to exist today.