Check your loose change: Two rare pennies sold for $500,000 at Denver auction

Lincoln penny. w/ Peter Rexford Stamps & Coin column.
Lincoln penny. w/ Peter Rexford Stamps & Coin column.

Scour wherever you keep your loose change because if you’re lucky, you might have a penny worth six figures.

Two of the rarest coins in the U.S. sold for a combined $500,000 at a Denver auction last week. A 1943 Lincoln penny sold for $282,000 and a 1792 penny sold for $211,500, according to 12News. The 1792 penny was lost for more than 130 years.

“This was the first time these particular coins were ever offered at auction and collectors were not going to let them get away,” Jim Halperin, co-founder of Heritage Auctions, told 12News. “There are each just 10 to 15 of these cents known to exist.”

The Lincoln penny has so much value because of the material it’s made of. The penny was supposed to be made of zinc-coated steel, but a mistake led it to be made of bronze left over from 1942, according to WFAA.

The 1792 penny sold hasn’t been seen since an auction in 1890. Those coins are referred to as “Birch cents” because the name of the engraver is on the coin, according to WFAA.