Account Navigation

Account Navigation

Currency - All prices are in AUD

Currency - All prices are in AUD
 Loading... Please wait...
Quality Collectible Coins

Blog

The 1943 Lincoln Cent

Posted by Tom Deaux on

The 1943 Lincoln Cent

Many customers have heard rumors about a steel Lincoln cent, particularly that there are some valuable ones. Here is some information regarding this interesting coin.

History

In 1942 the United States was engaged in World War II. We had sufficient amounts of steel but were short on copper so the decision was made to produce the Lincoln Cents using steel coated with zinc instead of using Copper. These steel cents are lighter than the copper versions, and unlike the copper coins they are attracted to magnets (more on that later). All 3 mints (Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco) produced these steel coins in 1943.

The steel cents are often found as rusty as the steel was exposed after the thin layer of zinc wore off. Some industrious people applied a new layer of zinc to lightly worn steel cents to represent them as uncirculated. These “re-zinced” coins are easy to distinguish from their genuine counterparts with a little practice as they look polished where the original coins exhibit lighter mint luster.

Value

There two valuable varieties of the steel cent; the 1943 copper cent, and the 1944 steel cent. There were about 40 1943 cents struck in copper, out of a total of over 1 billion. Only about 17 of these coins are accounted for; 10 from the Philadelphia mint, 1 from Denver, and 6 from San Francisco. There were about 75 1944 cents struck in steel, out of a total of over 2 billion. More than 20 of these coins have been accounted for.

A typical 1943 copper cent or 1944 steel cent should sell for over $75,000. The most valuable Lincoln cent of any kind ever sold is a 1944-S bought for $373,750 in July, 2008.

Counterfeits

As with many rare coins these issues are frequently counterfeited. The easiest way to determine if the coin is a counterfeit is to use a magnet. If the coin goes to the magnet it is steel, not copper. If your 1943 copper coin goes to the magnet it is a counterfeit and if your 1944 steel coin is not attracted to the magnet it is counterfeit. Once you pass this test you should contact either the Numismatic Guarantee Corporation (NGC) or the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) for further validation.

View Comments


Should I buy new US Mint Uncirculated Mint Sets and Proof Sets?

What are Uncirculated Mint Sets and Proof Sets?The US Mint web site describes their 2017 Uncirculated Coin set (Mint Set) as follows:"The 2017 United States Mint Uncirculated Coin Set® contains two folders of 10 coins each, one from the United States Mint at Philadelphia and the other from the United States Mint at Denver, for [...]

Read More »

How much is this coin worth?

When I am asked this question by a customer I have some standard short responses depending on whether he has the coin with him, and on how much experience I perceive him to have with coins. The real answer to that question is not that simple, and is the topic of this article. This article is limited in scope [...]

Read More »

Grading US Coins for Beginners

IntroductionThis documentation is a tutorial for grading US coins using the 70 Point Sheldon Coin Grading Scale, the PCGS Photograde Online Service, and the NGC Coin GradingGuide. This will enable the reader to assign a ballpark grade for use in determining quality and value of US coins.The 70 point grading scale was created by William Sheldon in 1949 and [...]

Read More »

1976 Variety 1 (Type 1) .vs. Variety 2 (Type 2)

The year 1776 marks the official beginning of the United States of America's nationhood. The year 1976, as the 200 year anniversary, was a big year for coins, including the Eisenhower Dollar.The Eisenhower Dollar was manufactured in 1975 and 1976, with all "Ike Dollars" bearing the 1976 date (there are no Eisenhower Dollars with the year 1975). There is [...]

Read More »

Improved Grading for AU Coins

Improved Grading for AU CoinsThis article exposes a weakness with the About Uncirculated (AU) part of the 70 point grading scale and proposes a solution to improve it.BackgroundIn the previous days of coin collecting there was a simple way to describe the condition of coins; a coin was either “new” or “used”. This situation was eventually improved when The American Numismatic [...]

Read More »

How to tell the difference between type 1 (variety 1) and type 2 (variety 2) proof coins from 1981

There are fundamentally two types of mint marks on US 1981 proof coins. These mint marks are used on all denominations of these coins from the Cent to the Dollar. The type 2 coins are more valuable than the type 1 coins so it is helpful to be able to tell the difference.It takes some [...]

Read More »

How to tell the difference between type 1 (variety 1) and type 2 (variety 2) proof coins from 1979

There are fundamentally two types of mint marks on US 1979 proof coins. These mint marks are used on all denominations of these coins from the Cent to the Dollar. The type 2 coins are more valuable than the type 1 coins so it is helpful to be able to tell the difference.It is fairly [...]

Read More »

Where to find relevant price data for coins

As a coin store owner, customers frequently ask me where to find up to date pricing information for coins. My standard answer is that firstly if it is in print its out of date. Even the weekly price guides provide information that is at least two weeks old between publication and receipt, and the yearly journals [...]

Read More »