You might think coin collecting is uncool, but if you have the right coins, you can turn pennies into millions.
A 1943 bronze Lincoln penny brought in $282,000, and a penny minted in 1792 went for $211,500.
“This was the first time these particular coins were ever offered at auction,” said Jim Halperin, co-founder of Heritage Auctions, where the pennies sold in early August. “Collectors were not going to let them get away. There are each just 10 to 15 of these cents known to exist.”
Most 1943 Lincoln pennies are already collector’s items because they are made of zinc-coated steel during the World War II when copper was being used to make shell casings for the war effort. The zinc and steel cents are known to collectors as “steelies” and are worth anywhere from $2 to $10.
There are a handful of bronze cents that were made by mistake, however, and they are worth much more. The bronze coins were made when some bronze planchets from 1942 that had become stuck in the hopper of the San Francisco mint became freed and were stamped into pennies. Since the steelies are silver in color, it really sets the bronze coins apart.
The 1792 penny was minted just after the birth of this nation, so to most people, it doesn’t even resemble a penny. This particular coin was last sold in 1890 for $75.00 (roughly $2,000 in today’s money). It was discovered in Europe, and is known to have been once owned by famed coin collector Lorin G. Parmelee.