A penny saved could mean $200 earned for a man whose discovery of double letters on a 1995 penny has sent the coin-collecting world into a tizzy.
“I’m a working guy who got lucky,” said Felix Dausilio, 47, a school custodian and coin collector who discovered the penny.
Coin experts say as many as 600,000 of the Philadelphia-minted pennies could be in circulation. Similar coins have sold for $175 to $200.
“It’s a pretty exciting find,” said Bill Gibbs, editor of Coin World magazine in Sidney, Ohio, which reported on the penny in its latest issue.
U.S. Mint officials said they have yet to see the penny and cannot confirm if it is a one-time occurrence or if others exist.
The coin, displayed at an Atlanta collecting convention last weekend, has blurred letters in the words “Liberty” and “In God.”
Collectors believe it might be a double-die penny, one created when a die, the device used to stamp images on blank coins, has off-center impressions.
When dies are made, they are pressed more than once with the mirror image of what is to appear on the coin. If the images are not precisely lined up, the letters and pictures appear more than once.
Doubled dies are not rare, experts say, but Dausilio’s is a major find because of how clearly the overlapping letters stand out.
Mike White, a mint spokesman in Washington, said the penny might have been hit twice with the same die. He said officials checked the 2,000 dies being used to make pennies in Philadelphia and none was defective.