1943 Steel Penny Value

Trey Benedict
Trey Benedict
On June 22, 2024

About the 1943 Steel Wheat Cent

The 1943 Steel Penny is one of the most interesting numismatic pieces in the United States Mint and Numismatics history. Being a one-year type, this makes the 1943 steel cent unique, meaning it was only minted and produced for one year. Many people often are confused and refer to the 1943 steel penny as a "rare coin", but this, however, is not as true. The 1943 steel penny was produced in three different mints, the San Francisco Mint bearing the S mint mark below the date, the Denver Mint bearing the D mint mark below the date, and the Philadelphia Mint bearing no mint mark. There were over 684 Million pieces struck at the Philadelphia Mint Alone impacting the rarity and steel penny value. The Lincoln Cent was originally produced with Victor D. Brenner design started in 1909, and this was the first metal type change of many that would happen due to the cents rising cost of production.

Why was the 1943 Steel Penny Produced?

The 1943 Steel Penny was produced by the United States Mint during World War II, due to the shortage of copper and brass for the ammunition effort in the United States. Copper pennies were a thing of the past coming into the year 1943, when the United States experimented with many different compositions such as tempered glass, lead, and manganese but ended up deciding upon a zinc coating steel composition. The exact composition is 99% Steel, with 1% zinc coating to give the coins their shine. It made the coins significantly lighter than their copper counterparts, at around 2.702 grams. The galvanization process left many steel Lincoln pennies with exposed edges, causing rust to happen during the circulation process.

1940's construction of the New San Francisco Mint

1943 Steel Penny Value

Steel cents these days are usually found in average condition, being circulated for many years and losing the majority of their value, being worth just 10 cents to 20 cents. The Steel Penny Value increases with Uncirculated examples that have been graded by a third-party grading service, being worth around $20 to $25 in Mint State 65 condition, with MS-68 examples being worth upwards of $4,000 each sold at auction companies such as Heritage Auctions. You can refer to a coin price guide such as the PCGS Price Guide for more accurate and up-to-date information on the value of the Lincoln Steel cent. Coin Collectors, or Numismatists often look for examples that have great eye appeal, which means they want their coins to be original and uncleaned.

1943 Copper Penny Value

The true rarity is the 1943 Copper Penny, which the United States Mint had accidentally struck at the beginning of 1943 with leftover bronze planchets from 1942. These coins are worth just around $250,000 to $300,000 on the open market today, with just 15 known to exist from all mints. The easiest way to see if your 1943 penny is copper or steel, is to use a magnet, the odds are it is just a steel penny that has rusted.

1943 Copper Penny worth over $400,000

1944 Steel Penny Value

Just like the 1943 Copper Pennies, there were leftover steel planchets from 1943 that allowed the United States Mint in Denver to produce some 1944 Steel Cents. These coins are also incredibly rare, with less than 10 known, commanding prices up to $100,000 depending on their condition. Many of these steel cents were destroyed and given out to senators and high-ranking officers of the United States after World War II.

1944 Steel Penny worth over $100,000

Other Compositions of Experimental Cents

During this experimental time, there were many other compositions of pennies that were trying to be produced by the United States mint. Some of the more special ones include the Glass Cent, which is unique.

The 1942 Glass Cent worth over $75,000.

The glass cent has a value of over $75,000, where it has been sold twice over the last 20 years at auction both in NGC and PCGS Holders.

Learn More

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