1943 Steel Penny (Roll of 50)

1943 Steel Penny (Roll of 50)

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The 1943 Steel Penny is one of the most iconic coins in US history. Collectors love this coin because it was the only year a penny was made of steel and not copper. When the US entered the war effort during World War II, copper became a necessary commodity. So, every ounce of copper the military could get their hands on was used to make ammunition and military supplies, including the stores typically used for making pennies. A few rare copper cents were struck by mistake in 1943, but the rest were struck with steel, creating an incredibly unique steel grey wheat penny! This is an incredible piece of both numismatic and American history, and now you can get an entire roll of (50) Circulated 1943 Steel Cents for cheap for your collection today!


  • (50) cents total
  • Struck with steel, not copper!
  • Circulated condition


Learn About The 1943 Steel Penny

1943 Steel Penny Design

The 1943 Steel Penny was originally designed by Victor Brenner. The obverse of the coin featured a side portrait of former president Abraham Lincoln. On the reverse two wheat stalks that surrounded the words "one cent". The reverse design is the reason why many coin collectors call the penny "wheatie" or "wheat cent". 

1943 Steel Penny Mintage

A total of 684,628,670 1943 Steel Pennies were minted, making it a common coin in the Lincoln Cent Series. The coins were produced at the San Fransisco, Philadelphia, and Denver mints. Steel Pennies often range in value from a few cents to $20 or less a coin for really high quality mint state specimens. Even stunning Steel Penny Sets can be found for less than $100. 

Each 1943 Steel Penny was made of steel and coated with zinc. Often devious people tried to pass the 1943 Steel Penny off as a rare 1943 copper penny by coating it with copper. However, you can easily tell if the coin is the true rare 1943 copper by using a magnet. If the magnet picks up the coin then it is just a 1943 steel penny plated in copper. A true copper 1943 Cent is extremely rare, with only a handful of coins proven to exist.

1943 Steel Penny Composition

  • Material: The 1943 Steel Penny is composed of a steel core with a zinc coating, giving it a distinctive silver color, unlike the traditional copper penny.
  • Magnetic Properties: Due to its steel core, the 1943 Steel Penny can be attracted to magnets, a characteristic not found in other U.S. pennies.
  • Condition Issues: The zinc coating on the steel pennies can wear off or corrode over time, leading to rusting. This has resulted in many surviving examples showing varying degrees of corrosion or deterioration, affecting their overall condition and value.

1943 Steel Penny Minting and Distribution

  • Mints: The 1943 Steel Penny was produced at three U.S. Mint facilities: Philadelphia (no mint mark), Denver (D mint mark), and San Francisco (S mint mark). The different mint marks can affect the coin's rarity and value.
  • Quantity: Despite their unique composition, a significant number of 1943 Steel Pennies were minted, making them relatively common in circulated condition. However, high-grade examples (MS-67 and above) are much rarer and sought after by collectors.

1943 Steel Penny Valuable Errors

  • 1943 Copper Pennies: A handful of pennies in 1943 were mistakenly struck on leftover copper planchets from the previous year. These copper versions are highly rare and valuable, with a handful of authentic examples known to exist.
  • 1944 Steel Pennies: Similarly, in 1944, a small number of pennies were mistakenly struck on the steel planchets intended for the 1943 issues. Like their copper counterparts from the previous year, these are also rare and highly collectible.

You may also like: 1859-1909 Indian Head Cent (Roll of 50), Wheat Penny Roll of 50 - Choice Uncirculated, 1909 VDB Lincoln Penny, Rhode Island Bank Hoard $1 Note, 2024 Silver Eagles.

1943 Steel Penny FAQ

During World War II, copper was a critical material needed for war efforts, particularly for ammunition and other military equipment. To conserve copper, the U.S. Mint decided to produce pennies in 1943 from zinc-coated steel instead, marking a significant departure from the traditional copper coins.
There are 50 coins in a roll.
The 1943 Steel Penny can be easily identified by its silver-like appearance, a result of its zinc-coated steel composition. Unlike the traditional copper pennies, it is magnetic due to its steel core. Its unique composition and color set it apart from other US pennies.
While the 1943 Steel Pennies are considered unique, they are not particularly rare since millions were minted. However, high-grade examples or coins in exceptional condition can be valuable to collectors. The true rarities are the few 1943 pennies mistakenly struck on copper planchets.
The value of a 1943 Steel Penny can vary widely based on its condition. Common circulated coins might only fetch a few cents above face value, but uncirculated coins or those with a high grade can command higher prices. A roll of 50, especially in good condition, could be valuable to collectors.
Authentic 1943 Steel Pennies are magnetic, so a simple magnet test can help confirm authenticity. Additionally, examining the coin's details, weight, and appearance under magnification can help distinguish genuine coins from counterfeits or replicas.
Common issues include rusting or corrosion due to the steel core, and wear and tear that affects the zinc coating, leading to a dull or discolored appearance. Proper storage is crucial to prevent deterioration.
To preserve their condition, store the coins in a cool, dry place away from moisture, which can cause rusting. It's best to use non-PVC holders or tubes specifically designed for coin storage to protect them from environmental damage.
Finding a 1943 Copper Penny in a roll of Steel Pennies would be extremely unlikely, as the copper versions are rare errors from that year. These copper pennies are highly sought after by collectors and would be a significant find.
1943 Steel Pennies can be sold to coin dealers, at coin shows, through online auction sites, or to other collectors. For a roll of 50, especially if the coins are in good condition, it's beneficial to consult with a reputable dealer to get a proper valuation.
Variations to look for include the 1943-D (Denver mint) and 1943-S (San Francisco mint) marks. While not variations per se, the mint marks can affect the coin's value, with certain mintages being more sought after by collectors.
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