Rare penny could be worth more than $1 million

Lucky Lincoln: Rare 1943 Penny Could Fetch Over $1 Million at Auction

The top bid after a two-week online auction is $130,000, according to Heritage Auctions.

The World War II penny is one of only 20 that were accidentally pressed in copper that year, Sarah Miller of Heritage Auctions in Dallas told Fox News. The young coin collector chose to keep the cent in his collection for more than 70 years, until he died in September.

Don Lutes, Jr., of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, found the bronze 1943 Lincoln cent in the change he was given at his school cafeteria in 1947, according to sellers Heritage Auctions.

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"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. Heritage believes it could sell for $170,000 or more at auction in Orlando.

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

The auction for the rare coin is slated to end on Thursday.

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

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.

However, a few of the copper planchets that were used to cast the Lincoln cent in 1942 got lodged in a trap door of a bin used to feed blanks into the press. Lutes had reached out to the Ford company about his find, but he was informed the rumor wasn't true. When they became dislodged, they were printed and circulated with the millions of steel copies. "PCGS CoinFacts estimates the surviving population at no more than 10-15 examples in all grades". 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.

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A similar penny sold was sold by a New Jersey dealer for $1.7 million in back in 2010, UPI reported at the time.

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