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Rare penny sold for $1.7 million

Sept. 23, 2010 at 5:27 PM

LINCROFT, N.J., Sept. 23 (UPI) -- A one-of-a-kind 1943 U.S. penny struck in the wrong metal was sold by a New Jersey dealer for $1.7 million, with the proceeds going to charity.

Laura Sperber, president of Legend Numismatics of Lincroft, N.J., said the coin, the only known penny mistakenly cast in bronze at the Denver Mint, was sold to an anonymous buyer from the southwestern United States after years of talks with the previous owner.

"This is the world's most valuable penny. It's the only known example of a 1943-dated Lincoln cent incorrectly struck in a copper alloy at the Denver Mint. Zinc-coated steel was being used for pennies in 1943 to conserve copper for other uses during World War II, and this one was mistakenly struck on a bronze coin disc left over from 1942. It took four years of aggressive negotiations with the coin's owner until he agreed to sell it," said Sperber, who obtained the coin for the buyer.

A Virginia coin dealer who acted as an agent for the former owner said the collector donated the coin to a charity so the proceeds from the sale would go to the non-profit, which was not identified.

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