24 Apr 2019
February 20, 2017 - Filed under: Auctions — Mark

An experimental glass penny has recently sold at a Florida auction for more than twice its original estimated value, thanks to a highly competitive bidding battle.

Due to copper being scarce during World War II, the US Mint experimented in 1942 by using glass to make a one cent coin. A report can be found in the National Archives, along with other US Mint documents, outlining the results of the experiment and the manufacturing process by the Blue Ridge Glass Company in Tennessee. However, the US Mint eventually settled for manufacturing cents that were made of steel coated in zinc the following year.

The all-glass penny is believed to be the only one still intact. It was bought at auction last summer by Roger W Burdette, the author of United States Pattern and Experimental Pieces of World War II. According to research by Burdette, there is one other experimental glass penny still in existence, but it is no longer in one piece. Burdette is unable to shed any light on the whereabouts of the glass penny prior to buying it last year.

Although the experimental coin had an original estimated value of $30,000, it eventually sold for $70,500 (£57,100) thanks to a bidding war between a floor bidder and a phone bidder. The coin will no doubt be kept in a secure place by the new owner, perhaps even in the drawer of an antique bedside cabinet, where it can be easily (and carefully) accessed for viewing.

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