SANTA ANA, Calif., Sept. 19 (UPI) -- When is a U.S. penny not just a cent? When it's a 1943 Lincoln penny made of the wrong metal and then it's worth $1 million, experts say.
Professional Coin Grading Service, a division of Collectors Universe Inc., said a penny recently acquired by Texas Rangers Co-Chairman Bob R. Simpson has been certified genuine.
Simpson paid $1 million for the finest of only four known surviving 1943-dated Lincoln cents mistakenly struck in bronze instead of zinc-coated steel at the San Francisco Mint. Just a few pennies were erroneously made of bronze, the metal composition from the previous year, Professional Coin Grading Service noted.
Simpson plunked down a cool million for the 1943-S bronze cent from Legend Numismatics of Lincroft, N.J., which had obtained it through "determined negotiations" with an East Coast dealer representing a seller described as "a long-time collector," Legend President Laura Sperber said in a release.
PCGS President Don Willis said the coin was certified PCGS Secure Plus Mint State 62 with brown when it was submitted to the company at the recent Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Sports Collectibles Expo. PCGS grades coins on a scale of 1 to 70.
"The Simpson collection now contains the finest known bronze cent from each mint, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver, including the unique 1943-D bronze cent that PCGS certified after Legend acquired and sold to him for a record $1.7 million in 2010," Willis said.
"Mr. Simpson said, 'It's a beautiful coin.' As he held it he reminisced about the 1943 'copper' Lincoln cent he found in change when he was a youngster, but that turned out to be a fake," Sperber said.