The only known 1943-dated Lincoln cent mistakenly struck at the Denver Mint on a bronze planchet has been sold for a record $1.7 million by Legend Numismatics of Lincroft, New Jersey. The unique coin, not publicly known to exist until 1979, is certified PCGS MS64BN.
The new owner is a Southwestern United States business executive who wants to remain anonymous.
Zinc-coated steel was used for producing cents in 1943 to conserve copper for other uses during World War II, but a small number of coins were mistakenly struck on bronze planchets left over from 1942.
"We estimate that less than 20 Lincoln cents were erroneously struck in bronze at the Philadelphia and San Francisco Mints in 1943, but this is the only known example from the Denver Mint," explained Don Willis, President of Professional Coin Grading Service, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT).
"The 1943-D bronze cent is the most valuable cent in the world, and it took four years of aggressive negotiations with the coin's owner until he agreed to sell it," said Laura Sperber, President of Legend Numismatics.
"The new owner is a prominent Southwestern business executive who's been collecting since he was a teenager, searching through pocket change looking for rare coins. As a youngster he thought he'd actually found a 1943 copper cent in circulation but it was not authentic. He still has that in his desk drawer, but now he's the only person to ever assemble a complete set of genuine 1943 bronze cents, one each from the Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco Mints," said Sperber.
The anonymous collector who formerly owned the coin "donated it to a charitable organization so they could sell it with all of the proceeds going to the charity," according to Andy Skrabalak of Angel Dee's Coins and Collectibles in Woodbridge, Virginia who acted as agent on behalf of the former owner.
"As a specialist in small cents, this transaction is the ultimate accomplishment for me and I'm privileged to be part of it. I don't think it will ever be duplicated in my lifetime," said Skrabalak.