There are couple of vintage coins together widely built up as the 1943 stole penny. This uses within and also even beyond the numismatic realm. This unusual-looking Lincoln wheat cent is unlike any kind of other United states one-cent coin.

Its zinc-coated stole composition provides this coin resemble a dime an ext than a typical U.S. Penny. Yet why were these strange coins made, what space they worth, and how walk a hobbyist go about collecting 1943 stole cents?


1943 Lincoln Wheat cent, steel composition. Image: USA CoinBook

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Making The 1943 steel Cent

The stole penny might seem choose a random anomaly to some. Yet the coin has actually a an important connection come an international historic event. The 1943 stole cent was produced during the height of people War II. This worldwide conflict witnessed the United says military"s involvement from 1941 v 1945.

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During world War II, the Allied forces needed countless essential sources to help optimize success in the war. This materials, consisting of copper and also nickel, were supplied for creating ammunition and artillery.

However, copper and also nickel were additionally integral in make coins. Thus, alternate metals were thought about for minting coins. This coins traditionally consisted greatly of copper and also nickel.

Therefore, the Lincoln cent and Jefferson nickel became prime targets for temporary however necessary metallic alterations. An plot of congress in 1942 authorized a provisional 35% silver- composition because that the nickel. This paved the method for an emergency composition for the one-cent coin together well.

A litany the tests and also patterns complied with for the emergency composition, including plastic and glass. The most cost-effective replacement metal for the Lincoln cent was determined to it is in a low-grade steel planchet. This zinc-coated stole planchets represented an efficient and affordable avenue for making the 1943 pennies and rationing copper because that the battle effort.

However, plenty of in the public were much less than thrilled with the alternate composition. The steel cent were often puzzled with the dime, causing some folks to shed 9 cents (or more) in a cash transaction. Others blasted the coins because that their propensity to quickly rust once the outer zinc coating wore turn off the coin, exposing the stole core.

The United claims Mint eventually acquiesced come the pertains to of the public. In 1944 the united state Mint resumed utilizing a copper-based composition for the Lincoln cent. This was accomplished by making use of copper shell casings gathered from army training facilities. This so-called shell instance cents, struck through 1946, covers 95% copper and also 5% zinc. This is somewhat various than the common 95% copper, 5% tin and also zinc composition generally used at the moment for developing Lincoln cents.

1943 steel Cent Value

Image: USA CoinBook

Most 1943 stole pennies aren’t precious much above their face value. This may come together something that a surprised to the numerous who think these coins are quite valuable. That typical misperception most likely stems from the popular of the popular 1943 bronze cents. This off-metal transitional error was accidentally struck once a couple of leftover 1942 copper planchets to be fed with the presses in ~ the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mints.

The 1943 copper cent are exceptionally rare and valuable. Only a couple dozen pieces were made, and also each is worth about $100,000. When 1943 copper cent weigh about 3.11 grams and don’t stick to a magnet, the more common steel cent (which sweet 2.8 grams) adhere to a magnet. When it come to assessing 1943 Lincoln cents, the duo of a magnet and also gram scale has damaged many hearts and burst numerous bubbles end the years.

The 1943 steel cent are quite common, and an ext than 1 billion to be struck. Damaged down by each mint, the separation, personal, instance mintages space as follows:

1943 Philadelphia Mint cent – 684,628,670

1943-D Denver Mint cent – 217,660,000

1943-S san Francisco cent – 191,550,000

Many 1943 steel cents eventually corroded past recognition or to be otherwise shed to time. However, there are still countless collectible 1943 pennies the end there. Hence, this are fairly common coins and also are worth fairly little in circulated grades.

Most 1943 pennies in worn qualities trade for approximately 10 to 25 cent apiece. Typical uncirculated instances usually realize $1 come $5. Top-level specimens in qualities of Mint State-67 or far better can walk for much more, occasionally hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

There are additionally some far-reaching varieties among the 1943 steel cents, consisting of the 1943-D/D repunched mintmark. This commonly collected range is worth more than $100 in exceptionally Fine-40 and upward that $400 in Mint State-63. While over there is no known mintage number for the 1943-D/D Lincoln cent, it’s approximated that maybe 3,000 come 5,000 examples may exist across all grades.

What about 1944 steel Cents?

1944 steel Lincoln cent. Image: PCGS

As discussed above, 1943 copper pennies room rare and valuable. Their steel counterparts room much more common. Ironically, the change back to the normal bronze composition in 1944 reversed this situation!

1944 bronze cents space common, however a few of the steel-coated zinc coins were minted that year through mistake. Thus, 1944 stole cents are exceptionally scarce and command really high values.

Confusing i m sorry is which in between the 2 years could price you dearly.

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Collecting the 1943 Lincoln Cent

Many coin collectors encompass the miscellaneous 1943 pennies among their larger collections of Lincoln cents. However, the trio that business-strike Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco 1943 Lincoln steel cents constitute a an extremely popular one-year brief set. This set is commonly sold in mass-market offerings—particularly together a set of “reprocessed” (stripped and also recoated) pieces assembled in plastic display screen cases and also sold via general-readership newspaper and also magazine advertisements.

There is no ideal or wrong method to collect 1943 Lincoln cents. Offered their novelty, they also make great gifts and have assisted spark numismatic understand in folks who otherwise may not have come to be coin collectors. Indeed, whether gathered as part of a short set or incorporated into a larger run of Lincoln cents, the 1943 stole pennies space favorites among non-numismatists and also veteran coin collectors alike.

Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez is a journalist, editor, and also blogger who has actually won lot of awards from the Numismatic literary Guild. The has likewise authored plenty of books, consisting of works profiling the background of the United says Mint and also United claims coinage.