Error 1943 Copper Penny in GreatCollections Nov. 13 Auction


One of the most sought after and famous coin errors in the world, the 1943 Copper Penny, will be featured in GreatCollections’ auctions on November 13th. Only about two dozen examples are known in all grades.

1943 Copper Penny, PCGS AU50
1943 Copper Penny, graded PCGS AU50. Bidding is already up to $167,500, with 119 bids received, over 2,700 page views, and 91 members tracking.

The coin has been lightly circulated and is graded PCGS AU-50 with CAC approval. It is expected to realize over $200,000 when bidding concludes at

When the U.S. Mint switched to using zinc-coated steel to produce 1943 Lincoln Cents, a small number of copper planchets leftover from 1942 slipped into the buckets of the steel planchets and then into circulation.

Although there were rumors of some 1943 pennies being struck in error (using copper/bronze planchets), none were discovered until 1947, and they were instantly coveted by collectors and even appeared in magazines, comic books and newspapers.

"Over the past decade at GreatCollections, we have had countless calls, emails and letters about people purporting to have a new discovery of this famous error. Not a single coin was genuine, and this is only the third authentic example we have had the pleasure to handle," said Ian Russell, president of GreatCollections.

The numismatic world has been lucky to have had several opportunities to bid on 1943 Copper Pennies over the past few years, however, almost all now reside in long-term collections, cherished by their owners. This is important to take into account when considering a bid on this iconic error coin.

In all five editions of the 100 Greatest U.S. Coins by Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth, the 1943 Copper Cent has been ranked in the top 11, and in the 5th edition, ranks ahead of the unique 1822 Gold Half Eagle and 1861 Paquet Gold Double Eagle.

GreatCollections has set many records in Lincoln Cents over the years, including the highest prices ever paid for a Proof Lincoln Cent at $365,625, as well as many individual date and grade world records.

The 1943 Copper Penny will be available to view at the Irvine, California headquarters of GreatCollections by appointment. To view high-quality images and register to bid visit or call 800-442-6467.

About GreatCollections

GreatCollections, the official auction house of the American Numismatic Association, specializes in auctioning certified coins and banknotes, handling transactions from start to finish. Since its founding in 2010, GreatCollections has successfully auctioned over 1 million certified coins, making it one of the leading certified coin companies in the United States with annual sales in 2021 exceeding $235 million. Ian Russell, owner/president of GreatCollections, is a member of the prestigious Professional Numismatists Guild and member of the National Auctioneers Association. For more information about GreatCollections, visit or call 800-442-6467.

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I’d love to have one. I’m tempted to bid but over $200,000 for a penny? My wife would kill me. How many 1944 Steelies are there?


Maybe I have one similar. How exciting.


I can certify that I DON’T have a bronze 1943 Lincoln cent nor a steel 1944 Lincoln cent. That lays that one to rest.


either (a) they have counterfiets, or (b) they don’t understand the difference between steel and copper or (c) they are just lying

Stephanie Aguayo

I have a 1944 penny is it worth anything besides ¢.01?


a 1943 steel or 1944 copper cent unless in new uncirculated condition are generally worth well under $1, but definitely more than 1 cent. the problem is that it will most likely cost you a lot more in time and energy to sell it than you will get out of it. generally the best value is to show off to people as a conversation piece. there are a tremendous number of fake 1943 copper and 1944 steel cents made over the years. these are typically the common coins that are thinly coated in the other metal. you can use a… Read more »

Michael levy

Don’t know much about pennies but I think I got one of them steelies


I don’t have a dozen but I’m pretty sure I paid more than a dime for them, plus a friend gave me a P-D-S set as a gift.


Too add to the confusion, I have a couple of wartime (WWII) Canadian Five Cents which are chrome plated steel and have very nice, barely worn portraits of King George VI, which I found in my change as a teenager. I sold the ones I already had and used the money to buy the scarcer bronze 1943 five cents to add to my collection.


I believe I’ve come across a couple steel cents over the years. I was very surprised to get them in my change.


Are any of the “steelies” worth anything? I have few dozen, some are pretty poor but a few of them look like they’ve been in a bank vault since the ’40’s (they have)


Yeah, but a 1943 copper cent isn’t going to beat you to death for spending $200,000 on one red cent.

Mark Richardson

I think the steel 1944 cents are more rare.


I have a 1943 penny I have two 1957 pennies I have 1935 penny 1963 1982 and I’m trying to figure out where can I sell these pennies at and who can call me and let me know


You can also check out the coinage grading guides at your local book store at no charge, unless you want to buy the book. That’s what I’ve been doing lately. Also take a peek at what people are asking for those coins on ebay.

I have a few rare pennies that I want to get rid of just don’t know how to sell them


I have a 1943 copper penny, I have a book with the sttel pennies also. Who do I contact to sell the pennies??

James Mantia

I’ve got a few of those 10 81′ pennies 10 mint D 25 with no mint mark I’ve got a lot of error dimes cracks and errors on the punch and another more but you know what I’m having the biggest problem is finding tri fold coin books I ca put them in anywhere and I’ve looked everywhere now I have them in baggies with notes in them telling me which ones it is pain in the


Some bookstores sell coin folders in their hobby section.


I’ve used the Whitman folders since ’67. Work for me.

James Mantia

This is what the hype is all about 43-copper I’m sure I’ve got one and a few others but like I said I’d like to grade them and check all these key dates I’ve read about from almost everybody I started my collecting of coins in1960 collecting far older dates and quality in small baggies still looking for those coin books to exhibit them and not have to go through all my pennies to grab the key dates to show any help.out there


I have a Lincoln cent, ’84 or ’88, without the zinc coating. I don’t know if it was removed somehow or it was never coated with zinc. Nice little find. That’s the only “rarity” I’ve ever come across.


My bad, copper coating. The copper is missing from the surface of the cent. Big oops on my part.

Clint Lumpkin

I have two 1944 copper pennies, what are they valued at ?


Your subtlety is palpable.


What’s Google? Now I’M being flippant. 😉


Only a gaggle of geese. 🙂


I have several of the 2022 coins Washington are they really worth anything that go are there really worth having what do they go for a part of all the time


I have what looks to be a penny very fates with two shaking hands, any info?


Sure it’s not a nickel?


I been searching for coins for years never found any… unless I don’t know how to look

Jeff Legan

Hi Sherie, If you have been looking at every coin that passes through your hands, after a while you will have seen a ton that look the same to you except for the date. The key is to start picking out the obvious differences, after you “know” what a typical denomination looks like. Later, you can learn to look for the subtle errors or rarities that most people miss (including me, I am sure) as you find out about them, some examples being die doubling, “extra” corn stalks on the Wisconsin state quarter or “big” date, “small” date on some… Read more »


I have a 1943 steel penny what is it worth

Last edited 1 year ago by Rolando

Wow, it’s amazing how many people have 1943 copper pennies and 1944 steel pennies. Maybe these things aren’t as rare as we thought, Kaiser?

That’s you cue to insert the appropriate eye-rolling emoji.


Actually I did have a serious and interesting question here – of the known 20 and fewer ’43 copper cents and ’44 steel cents, what’s the breakdown by mint? Did they all come from one mint or were they dispersed among the three? I would think just one (Philadelphia, given the example above) as it’s hard to imagine all three made this kind of mistake.


Wow, thank you, thank you, thank you. Imagine what the D and S specimens would cost. Millions? When is the last time one of those was up for sale?


I guess your picture of the copper 1943-D is the one and only. Where did you get that photo? I wonder who owns the coin. Has it EVER gone up for sale?!?!? The entire notion of there only being one single solitary coin blows my mind. The thing should be in the Smithsonian next to the Hope Diamond.


Or the 1804 silver dollar and 1913 Liberty nickel.


You can go to jail for that one, unless you have the deep pockets to afford the only legal one allowed in auction. Probably won’t come up again for another decade.


Do you have room for these paintings? At least coins don’t take up that much room.

Last edited 1 year ago by Antonio

Can we get any OOs?


Thanks for the link and the source.


Love that penny not to many off them left beautiful need too grade my 2 1944s copper Penny’s I think they are in great shape going to put them in too need some on too grade them I have 1958 penny the 1942 1941 1956 1923 1926 1949 1931


Have a question.. if you was to have an older date coin… (For example only) earlier years the numbers where slightly different than they are today… Anyways if you had a 1943 peny but was repunched with a 4 over the three,(using the numbers from that year) what would it look like? Does anyone know?


Hi I have a quick question about a penny I have. It’s a 1946 wheat…Was there anything special about that year? Anybody that can help I do appreciate it.

Jeff Legan

Hi Timothy, Try a search online for “1946 lincoln cent for sale”. When I just did it, I saw pictures of pennies for sale, farther down were listings of pennies for sale, and I even saw an article (at jmbullion) talking about different varieties of 1946 pennies, which sounds like just what you are looking for. If you have a more specific question after doing some basic research (this also applies to anyone on this thread asking “what is my 19xx wheat penny worth?“), ask here again (though I am not sure if you would have better luck asking on… Read more »


So is this like a bad die or something. Or could it b a 1944/3. Take a look at the numbers around them years and u see the three is larger than the four. So put that four over the three and tell me it wouldn’t look like this.


It looks like a 3 to 4 conversion. Check out the two pennies above.The 3 in 1943 looks close to the edge of the coin like the one you pictured. The 4 in 1944 is more set off from the edge. I’m by no means an expert but I wouldn’t be a buyer either.

Last edited 1 year ago by REB
Jeff Legan

I am no expert either, but I agree with REB. It looks suspicious to me.


What do u mean suspicious? Like manufactured after the press to look like a 4/3? Not sure what one would look like. Tried googling to c if there is another cent out there with a 4/3. But couldn’t find one to compare it with. Also here is more pictures of the cent

Jeff Legan

Yes, that is what I am thinking. The bottom leg of the last 4 looks wrong. It does look to me like it could be a part of the original 3, if it was a 1943 coin that was altered. It should look just like the first 4, I feel pretty sure of that. Why doesn’t it? As REB said, I would pass if I was thinking of purchasing it. What you decide to do is up to you. Why take a risk of getting an altered coin? If you already own it, I guess you need an expert to… Read more »


Another one


Are the coins worth anything?


Hi Kaiser thank you all of y’all I have over 380 coins from around the world. I tried look all the coins up in the internet. But there’s so many coins out there. I will take better pictures zoomed in pic. Y’all are awesome thank you

Ronald Wong

I have this coin in AU50.

Would it still be valuable?

Patrick Flynn

They did not accidentally leave some copper planchette in the hopper. That’s ridiculous. I worked at the mint in San Francisco putting in the automated coin machines in 1989/90. First off , coin production does not start on January 1st . All the mints are about 5 to six months ahead of Jan.1st. Before the order came out the switch to steel all mints were already producing 43 copper pennies. A lot of coins were produced involving tons and tons of copper needed for the war. When Nellie Ross head of mints at the time stated “No Coppers Were Produced… Read more »