Incredibly Rare Coin US Mint Denied Existed Found In Boy's Lunch Money Could ...

Back in 1947, a 16-year-old Massachusetts teenager, Don Lutes Jr, held out his hand at the school cafeteria for change after paying for his meal.

At the height of World War II in 1943, copper was a strategic metal used to make shell casings, telephone wires, and other wartime necessities.

To save rations, the Treasury Department at the time authorized the US Mint to strike 1943 cents on zinc-coated steel plates, known as planchets, rather than on copper blanks.

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.

Today, we know there are surviving examples from all three active mints, including 10 to 15 from Philadelphia, half a dozen from San Francisco, and just one from Denver.

Credit: Heritage AuctionsThe 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.

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