Featured in the upcoming February 2021 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction #1327
1943 CENT Struck on a Bronze Planchet MS62 Brown PCGS. CAC. Ex: Simpson.
Approximately 20 Philadelphia Mint bronze cents dated 1943 are believed to exist, along with just one from the Denver Mint, and five from the San Francisco Mint. Opposing errors dated 1944 are struck on zinc-coated steel blanks. Planchets were transported within the Mint in large bins. As 1942 came to a close, a small number of bronze blanks were lodged in the crevices of one or more of those bins. When new zinc-coated steel blanks were placed in the bin (or bins), the previous bronze blanks were dislodged and went through the coinage process undetected and eventually entered circulation where they were eventually saved by sharp-eyed collectors. One of those collectors was a young man, Marvin Wallace Beyer, Jr.
Beyer found this coin in circulation, reportedly around 1957 when he was 14 years old. Beyer was born on September 3, 1940, suggesting that he was either 17 years old, or that he found the coin around 1954. The earliest report in The Numismatist appeared in the May 1957 issue reporting on the February 18, 1957 meeting of the East Los Angeles Coin Club:
"Hy Spitz read an article published in the December issue of Optimist International magazine, entitled "The Philadelphia Mint Family," telling of the establishment of the first U.S. mint in 1792. Mr. Spitz referred to a recent article in the Los Angeles Examiner recounting a 14-year-old boy, Marv, Beyer, finding a rare 1943 'copper cent.'"
After reportedly spending some $700 on metallurgical testing, Beyer's father, also Marvin W. Beyer, consigned the coin to Abe Kosoff for the 1958 ANA sale, but later elected to withdraw the coin from the sale, resulting in a lawsuit as reported in the April 1959 issue of The Numismatist:
"Because of the withdrawal of the 1943 copper cent from the A.N.A. auction last year in Los Angeles minutes before the coin was to go on the block, Abe Kosoff the auctioneer, has filed suit in Superior Court Los Angeles, against the coin's owners, the Marvin Beyers. The cataloger is seeking $60,750.00 on several counts, charging breach of contract, fraud, deceit and slander."
In the Complete Guide to Lincoln Cents, author David Lange reports that the "Greer Company" of Los Angeles bought the coin per an article in the February 1, 1959 issue of The Los Angeles Examiner. The reported price was $40,000 although Lange questions that amount as extraordinary for the time. We have been unable to find out more about the Greer Company. This cent was apparently not seen again until it appeared in the October 2000 Superior Pre-Long Beach sale, reappearing in the Goldberg Coins' Benson Collection sale of February 2003, its last public auction appearance.
This lovely cent has vibrant blue toning over lustrous olive-brown surfaces with slight weakness on Lincoln's beard, but with sharp wheat ears, and exceptional surfaces for the grade. This piece has eye appeal that equals its rarity. We were pleased to offer the Don Lutes discovery coin for the 1943 copper cent in the January 2019 FUN Signature sale, and now we are equally pleased to offer this Marvin Beyer example, the second confirmed 1943 copper cent.
Ex: Marvin Beyer, Jr., who found this piece in circulation about 1957; consigned to the 1958 ANA Convention Sale (Abe Kosoff), but withdrawn by Marvin Beyer, Sr. prior to the sale; reportedly sold to the Greer Company of Los Angeles in 1959 for $40,000; later, Pre-Long Beach Sale (Superior, 10/2000), lot 4146; Benson Collection (Goldberg Coins, 2/2003), lot 148.
Coin Index Numbers:
(NGC ID# 22E5, PCGS# 82709)
95% Copper, 5% Tin & Zinc