Rare penny found by Mass. man fetches $200K

The 1943 penny is one of 20 that were accidentally minted when the federal government was trying to conserve copper for World War II. (Heritage Auctions photo/CNN)

A rare 1943 bronze Lincoln penny found by a Massachusetts man in his lunch money sold for more than $200,000 at a Florida auction.

Heritage Auctions said more than 30 people bid on the rare coin Thursday night. Only 10 to 15 of these pennies, mistakenly minted in bronze instead of steel, are believed to exist. They were made at a time when bronze and copper were being saved to fill metal shortages during World War II.

The auction house said Don Lutes Jr. of Pittsfield he penny in his pocket as a teenager in 1947 after getting some change at his high school cafeteria, and held onto it.

Lutes died in September. He directed all proceeds from the sale to be donated to the Berkshire Athenaeum at the public library in Pittsfield.

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