A man identified as Lutes went down in history for possessing a penny for many years that was sold for 204,000 dollars (approximately 867 million pesos), according to Heritage Auctions, the auction house that conducted the sale.
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A penny is supposed to be worth that: a penny. Nevertheless, when these coins are conserved over the years by collectors, its value increases exponentially.
Lutes owned a 1943 Lincoln bronze penny and kept it until 2018, when he passed away. Before he died he delivered the coin to Heritage Auctions.
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“Lutes, then 16, received the copper-colored penny in return in his school cafeteria in 1947.David Stone, a Heritage coin cataloguer, told CNBC Make It.
Nearly 30 bids were received by the auction house when it put the coin up for sale. Proceeds went to the Berkshire Athenaeum Public Library, located in Pittsfield, Massachusetts (USA), the hometown of Lutes.
As Stone explained to the American media, the value of a penny depends on its quality and rarity. As for the 1943 Lincoln Bronze Penny, pointed out that only a handful of these have been discovered, including the one found by Lutes.
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The United States Mint stopped using bronze to preserve the material for armed struggle, so the manufacture of cents began to be made with zinc-coated steel plates, according to the coin cataloger.
However, he added that “some of the old bronze planks got stuck in the large containers the Mint used to feed the coin presses in late 1942. The few bronze coins that were minted went unnoticed and were put into circulation”.
This is how Lincoln’s bronze penny became, in Stone’s words, “the most famous error coin in American numismatics”.
The expert also assured that the chances of finding one of these is almost impossible.
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“The most valuable Lincoln cent was sold privately in 2010 for $1.7 millionStone said.
To date, collectors only know of Lincoln bronze 15 to 20 cents. But, due to its value, several fake steel replicas have circulated, so experts advise anyone who finds one to examine it with a magnet, because if it sticks, it’s not bronze.