FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami/AP) — One of only two known surviving glass pennies, minted during World War II, has sold for a whole bunch of pennies, and dimes and quarters, at auction.
On Friday, Heritage Auctions announced that it went for a whopping $70,500, it was expected to go for about $30,000. The buyer wished to remain anonymous.
So how did the glass penny come about?
During World War II, copper became a scarce commodity needed for the war effort.
It forced the U.S. Mint to experiment with alternative materials, like steel, plastic and rubber, to produce the one-cent coin.
One such alternative involved an all-glass penny, manufactured in 1942, by the Blue Ridge Glass Company in Tennessee.
The penny’s former owner, Roger Burdette, says the coins’ impressions weren’t precise, their weight and size weren’t uniform and they developed sharp edges.
By the time the glass coins were ready for distribution in December 1942, it was already too late for the U.S. Mint to consider them as a viable replacement for the penny.
Burdette said the sample batch of glass pennies were likely destroyed. He says only one other that exists is broken.
Today, pennies are made of zinc and copper-plated, giving them the familiar look that we are used to.
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