This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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A 1943-D Lincoln cent made of bronze instead off wartime steel has brought $1.7 million in a private transactions between two anonymous parties.
It is a record for a Lincoln cent.
This only-known example of a 1943 cent struck in bronze from Denver is graded MS-64 Brown by the Professional Coin Grading Service.
Purchasing and reselling the coin to an anonymous Southwestern business executive was Laura Sperber, president of Legend Numismatics.
Acting as agent for the anonymous seller was Andy Skrabalak, owner of Angel Dee’s Coins and Collectibles.
Skrabalak says the prior owner “donated it to a charitable organization so they could sell it with all of the proceeds going to the charity.”
“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. The new owner is proudly now the only collector to ever own the all-time finest and complete sets of Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco 1943 bronze cents and 1944 steel cents,” says Sperber.
The transaction also included a 1944 Philadelphia steel cent that went for $250,000 and a 1942 experimental cent struck in tin that was priced at $50,000, bringing the transaction total to $2 million.
Sperber says the new owner of the famous error is the only person to ever assemble a complete set of genuine 1943 bronze cents, one each from the Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco Mints. He will display that set at FUN along with his 1944 Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco zinc cents,” she said.
The Florida United Numismatists convention will be held Jan. 6-8, 2011, in Tampa.
Zinc-coated steel was a wartime composition adopted in 1943 to conserve copper for other uses during World War II. A small number of coins were struck in error 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,” said Don Willis, PCGS president.