Now that I’ve got you’re attention, let talk about Lincoln Cents in 1943. In the midst of World War II, the United States military was in need of copper and nickel. So, in 1943 the US mint would make Steel Cents. You can imagine the surprise to see this grey penny instead of the reddish brown copper penny.
A lot of people ask me if their steel cents are worth anything. Unfortunately, I have to tell them if they don’t have a high grade mint state coin, don’t expect much. I can understand the logic of many who think that steel cents were only minted in 1943 so it should be a rarity, but what they don’t realize is that a lot of steel cents were minted.
- Philadelphia minted over 84,628,670 cents.
- Denver minted 217,660,000 cents.
- San Francisco minted over 191,550,000 cents.
That being said, circulating steel cents can range from $0.30 to $1.00. Low end mint state pennies can get you a few bucks. An MS-65 steel cent can be valued between $10 and $20. Sorry folks!
What about the 1943 Copper Cent?
When I was younger, I saw ads on the rare 1943 Copper Lincoln Cent and said they would offer $1,000,000 because only a few were minted. Somehow, there were a few copper plates that were mixed with the steel ones resulting in a few copper cents. Are they really worth $1,000,000? Again, I have to say no. I googled 1943 Copper Cents and checking a couple of sites, it looks like the value of this penny is somewhere between $60,000 and $85,000. Still, that’s nothing to sneeze at. That’s still more valuable than the 1909-S VDB, 1914-D and 1955 Double Die Cents combined.
Now, check out the 1943 Lincoln Cent at the top of this article. That cent belongs to me. Before you say WOW to me, I have to tell you this is a counterfeit coin. There were two ways I figured this out. The obvious one being that I only paid $2 for this at a coin show. I knew it was fake, but I wanted it anyway. If I didn’t think it was counterfeit, I could do a simple test. All I need to do is get a magnet and see if it sticks to the coin. If it sticks, then you have a steel cent. I thought I would try it just for laughs and alas, it’s a steel cent made to look like a copper cent. If it had not, it could be a 1943 Copper Cent, but not 100% sure. Some 1948 cents were altered to look like 1943. Like I always say, make sure you get a coin like this from a reliable dealer.
To those hoping to find a $1,000,000 Lincoln Cent, there isn’t one yet. At least I don’t know of one. If you do, please let me know. I’d like to see it.