Error 1943 Copper Penny in GreatCollections Nov. 13 Auction

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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 www.greatcollections.com.

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 www.greatcollections.com 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 www.greatcollections.com or call 800-442-6467.

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Kaiser Wilhelm

I would like to bestow the Ultimate Desirability Award on this coin because…Wartime Copper Cent…what’s not to love here!

REB

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?

Estelle

Maybe I have one similar. How exciting.

Kaiser Wilhelm

I’m not sure what “similar” means in this context, Estelle. It has to be precisely the same kind of coin to fit the bill.

Last edited 1 month ago by Kaiser Wilhelm
Antonio

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.

Kaiser Wilhelm

Antonio; what exactly is going on here, my friend? There seem to be droves of people coming out of the woodwork today affirming, stating and/or claiming categorically to have a 1943 Copper Lincoln Cent or a 1944 Steel Lincoln Cent and most amazingly in some cases both! How is it that all these folks have scored big time and we haven’t?

Last edited 1 month ago by Kaiser Wilhelm
c_q

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

Kaiser Wilhelm

I think, c_q, that I was giving them the benefit of the doubt and as such assumed them to be in your defined categories involving (a) counterfeits and (b) ignorance of numismatics, but knowing the internet/world wide web for what it is, your category (c) of outright bold-faced lying would be just as likely. This means they are merely trolls doing what trolls do best. But I sure hope not because that would mean we are now infested and will be compelled to do some serious fumigation.

Last edited 1 month ago by Kaiser Wilhelm
Stephanie Aguayo

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

c_q

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 »

Kaiser Wilhelm

I have read that the professional Chinese counterfeiters have managed to overcome both the magnet and the weight test when it comes to disguising counterfeit coins. Now the only way to determine that a well-made counterfeit is in fact a fake is to have a coin expert take a very close look at it.

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Michael levy

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

Kaiser Wilhelm

If you have a steel 1944 cent you have just become a rather well-off man. Please be aware that the 1943 steel cents are a dime a dozen.

Last edited 1 month ago by Kaiser Wilhelm
Antonio

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.

Kaiser Wilhelm

Sheesh, Antonio. I’m currently considering how to control a curious and complex coin controversy as your clever comment comes along to confuse calculations of my contribution to commonplace steel cent cost.

Last edited 1 month ago by Kaiser Wilhelm
Antonio

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.

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Kaiser Wilhelm

All I have, Antonio, are the common post-war bronze(?) cents, and I’m not letting go of any of them now that they’ve been retired.

Antonio

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

Kaiser Wilhelm

I did get a 1943 Steel Cent in change about twenty or thirty years ago, Antonio, which is still in my Cent Folder to this day.

Kaiser Wilhelm

Oh go ahead, REB; as any serious coin collector will tell you, it’s much harder to find a 1943 copper cent than a new wife. 😉

There are in fact only twelve steel 1944 cents, which explains why they are more expensive (like to like condition) than the twenty copper 1943 cents.

Jeff

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)

Kaiser Wilhelm

In regard to how some of those steel cents look like they just arrived from the Mint yesterday, Jeff, I’m fairly certain that since these coins have very little numismatic value it’s okay to spruce them up a bit before resale and apparently a lot of people take advantage of this unusual “loophole”.

REB

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

Kaiser Wilhelm

Life is full of unexpected ironies, REB, and a complete stranger might just end up doing exactly that were they to find out you are in possession of one of these very rare beauties.

“Always look at the bright side of life.”

  • Monty Python
Kaiser Wilhelm

I have to add a very important amendment aka correction here. I have since I posted the above comment learned that there were in fact only 19 of the 1943 copper cents made while the population of the 1944 steel cents is all of 39. The rarest 1943 copper cent is the single one made in Denver while the most scarce 1944 steel cents are the two from San Francisco.

Mark Richardson

I think the steel 1944 cents are more rare.

Uywaijiamaya

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

Kaiser Wilhelm

I would suggest that consulting a Modern United States Coinage catalog at your local library might just be the best way to get this process started.

Antonio

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.

Jenwhisman78@gmail.com

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

Kaiser Wilhelm

Following Antonio’s advice to consult some coin guides at the library or a large bookstore would be a great start. Once you establish values for them you’ll know how much to ask for them wherever you decide to sell them.

Pamela

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

Kaiser Wilhelm

There are only twenty of those particular cents in the world so unless you hit one of the biggest jackpots in numismatic history you might be in possession of a counterfeit.

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

Kaiser Wilhelm

The Littleton Coin Company, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Walmart all sell trifold coin folders. It’s best, of course, to shop around for a the best deal since there is a wide range of prices even for identical folders.

Antonio

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

Kaiser Wilhelm

There are Whitman people and Littleton folks. Just a matter of preference.

Antonio

Some bookstores sell coin folders in their hobby section.

Kaiser Wilhelm

That’s the best way to look at them before you buy and there’s no shipping charge.

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

Kaiser Wilhelm

If you in fact are in possession of a 1943 copper cent you have something the rest of us here can only dream about. That being said, considering the extraordinary rarity of this particular coin I might suggest getting it evaluated by a professional coin dealer since the typical 1943 copper cent not already accounted for is most likely either a 1948 cent with the “8” altered into a “3” or a Chinese from-scratch counterfeit.

Antonio

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.

Kaiser Wilhelm

Sorry to display my ignorance in this regard but where is the zinc coating on an ’84 or ’88 Lincoln Cent?

Antonio

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 ?

Kaiser Wilhelm

A little on the high side of one cent each, I would guess.

Antonio

Your subtlety is palpable.

Kaiser Wilhelm

In the interest of full disclosure, that was not me being flippant, that is simply me being too lazy to look up what those cents are really worth. Besides, doesn’t everybody have access to google? Now I’m being flippant. 🙂

Last edited 1 month ago by Kaiser Wilhelm
Antonio

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

Kaiser Wilhelm

What’s that you say? You’ve never heard of a google of geese?

Antonio

Only a gaggle of geese. 🙂

Steven

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

Kaiser Wilhelm

They are nice to find in change and to collect but don’t carry much if any premium.

Gabriel

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

Antonio

Sure it’s not a nickel?

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Kaiser Wilhelm

Good catch on that one, Antonio; very astute of you.

Sherie

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

Kaiser Wilhelm

You must mean you have been looking for very specific ones in change because coins as such are obviously out there all over the place.

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 »

Rolando

I have a 1943 steel penny what is it worth

Last edited 1 month ago by Rolando
Kaiser Wilhelm

1943 steel cents aren’t very valuable cash wise but they are still very nice to have thanks to their unique place in U.S. World War II history.

REB

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.

Kaiser Wilhelm

It’s akin to what I said elsewhere regarding statements and questions that are obviously not “straight” one way or another. I have no way of determining which of these many claims of owning 1943 Copper and 1944 Steel Cents is due to simple misunderstanding, complete ignorance, or intentional prevarication. How can we ever know?

Kaiser Wilhelm

REB,
What really boggles the mind is how surprisingly nonchalant the 1943 Copper Cent and 1944 Steel Cent owners are about the extraordinary rarities in their “possession”.

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Last edited 16 days ago by Kaiser Wilhelm
REB

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.

Kaiser Wilhelm

REB, I can’t swear that the following numbers are spot on, but I gave it my best…

1943 Copper Cents
P – 12
D – 1
S – 6

1944 Steel Cents
P – 30
D – 7
S – 2

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Kaiser Wilhelm

And the other one…

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REB

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?

Kaiser Wilhelm

Well, you’re very welcome three times over, REB; entirely my pleasure. Since the 1943 Copper Cents are about half as numerous as the 1944 Steel Cents, that puts the former ahead and above the latter in the general scheme of things. Correspondingly, the 1943-D Copper is the King of Coin Hill when it comes down to which Cent among all those of either year is the biggest winner. Bear in mind that the 1943 Copper Cent at the top of today’s CoinNews column above is expected to bring in $200,000, and since it’s from the Philadelphia Mint it’s in fact… Read more »

REB

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.

Kaiser Wilhelm

REB,
I’m still looking for more material regarding this ultimately unique coin, but for now here’s a “snapshot” of its particulars:

https://www.usacoinbook.com/coins/6031/small-cents/lincoln-wheat-cent/1943-D/bronze-copper/

Antonio

Can we get any OOs?

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Kaiser Wilhelm

Oo…oo…oo! More? Well, okay. Oo…oo…oo!

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REB

Thanks for the link and the source.

Kaiser Wilhelm

You’re most welcome, REB.

Antonio

Or the 1804 silver dollar and 1913 Liberty nickel.

Kaiser Wilhelm

Or the king of them all, y’all…

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Antonio

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.

Kaiser Wilhelm

That’s precisely the one I’m referring to here, Antonio, and as far as I know this one and only legal 1933 Gold Double Eagle still holds the world record at $18,900,000 for the highest price ever paid for a coin at auction. However, like so much else in this world of ours, things are relative. For example, the auction price record for a painting, Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci, at $450,300,000, easily beats the top price for a coin.

330px-Leonardo_da_Vinci,_Salvator_Mundi,_c.1500,_oil_on_walnut,_45.4_×_65.6_cm.jpg
Antonio

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

Last edited 1 month ago by Antonio
Kaiser Wilhelm

As the authentically imaginary combined Austro-German Double Eagle Kaiser I enjoy the advantage of two palaces of wall space.

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Thomascatalano

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

Stephen

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?

Timothy

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 »

Stephen

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.

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REB

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 month ago by REB
Kaiser Wilhelm

Where’s the rest of the cent? I’m not really clear as to what exactly is being shown here.

Jeff Legan

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

Stephen

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

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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 »

Kaiser Wilhelm

I agree with Jeff Legan that something either looks awry or there is no definite conclusion we can come to here, and if that is indeed the case the only sure solution would be to consult a coin expert, specifically one that has nothing to gain by tilting their resolution in a direction that would somehow be beneficial to them such as a prospective buyer might. Perhaps in the finally analysis, and most especially so if you believe this cent to be rather special, i.e. valuable, having it graded by a third party might just do the trick, but that’s… Read more »

Stephen

Another one

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Kaiser Wilhelm

Well, that’s a superior picture, Stephen, since it’s from a more auspicious angle. On the other hand, I for one can’t say it gives me a better idea of what is going on with that second “4” since I’m not at all sufficiently conversant with all the possible ins and outs of error (or damaged?) coins.

KeePitCleaN

Are the coins worth anything?

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Kaiser Wilhelm

I’m guessing here, KeePitCleaN – and by the way, that’s the way we always keep it here – that what you’re really asking is whether any one or more of those coins has any sort of substantial value. A very fair question, however it’s somewhat difficult to tell exactly what each of them is. Without the zoom function they are a bit too small to identify and with the zoom applied they become rather blurry. Maybe someone else here with more acute eyesight than I have could give you an opinion; let’s hope so.

KeePitCleaN

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

Kaiser Wilhelm

You’re very welcome, KeePitCleaN, and I’m truly sorry I couldn’t be of more help to you regarding your varied display of coins. It could simply be that I’m not adept enough with my computer skills to have been able to enhance that photo in the proper manner. There are indeed more coins in the world than we can ever dare to imagine. To keep myself sane in that regard I now restrict myself to modern U.S. coinage which I obtain primarily from the US Mint. My first collection which I started well over sixty years ago consisted entirely of Western… Read more »

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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 »