$1 MILLION FIND: Rare penny found in lunch money could fetch big bucks

KTRK logo
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Rare Lincoln penny up for auction
A rare Lincoln penny is up for auction.

A then-teenager's decision to hold onto an unusual penny he got as change in 1947 is paying off big.

Don Lutes, Jr., of Pittsfield, Mass., found a rare 1943 Lincoln penny in his change from his high school lunch back then.

He'd held on to it ever since, until he died in September.

The 1943 penny is special because less than 20 of them were ever made and they only exist due to an error.

In 1943, pennies were supposed to be made of steel because copper was needed for other uses during World War II. But a handful of the coins were mistakenly pressed with copper, like the one Lutes discovered.

The pennies are so rare, the U.S. government denied they ever existed.

Lute's rare coin is now up for auction, which is slated to end Thursday.

A similar penny sold for $1.7 million in 2010.