A rare copper example of the 1943 Lincoln cent is to provide the star lot of Rarities Night, the final auction of a sale that spans January 11-24 in New York.
The Philadelphia Mint coin, which is one of just a few struck using a copper planchet, is currently selling for $6,000. An even rarer, San Francisco Mint example of the coin sold for $1m in September 2012 to Bob Simpson, co-chairman of the Texas Rangers and a respected collector.
The record price for a copper 1943 Lincoln cent stands at $1.7m, after the unique example struck at the Denver Mint - 1943-D - was also sold to Simpson in 2010, who now has an example from all three mints.
The 1943 cent was originally due to be struck using a zinc-coated steel planchet, following the decision to replace the copper planchets used in the 1942 issue. However, a few of the surplus planchets from the previous issue were caught in the folds of the delivery cart and wound up feeding through the presses and into circulation.
The resulting coins are so rare that Henry Ford reportedly once offered a brand-new car from his factory to anyone who could produce a genuine specimen. The examples struck at the Philadelphia Mint - such as the one at auction - are the most "common", with less than two dozen known.
There are around six known examples of the San Francisco coin in addition to the solitary Denver piece. The present example has been graded Choice AU-55 PCGS, meaning there is the slightest wear on the high points.