1943 Steel Penny


Many folks don’t know this, but during World War II, for one year only, the United States minted the 1943 Steel Penny. The 1943 silver colored penny is a wartime issue made of steel, and coated with zinc. During World War II, copper was so badly needed for the war effort (to make shell casings) that the U.S. penny was made out of steel that year, which is why most 1943 pennies are silver colored.


These coins are very common, with a collective mintage of almost 500 Million coins. Most are worth about 12 to 15 cents each in ciruclated condition, and as much as 50 cents or more if Uncirculated. Due to their unique color, many people have collected and hoarded the 1943 Steel Penny over the years. Many people of the current generation are completely unaware that these coins were ever produced! Yet due to the extremely large mintage (number of coins minted), the 1943 Steel Penny is quite common and more of a curiosity than a valuable collectible coin.

It is important to note that the 1943 Steel Penny is a COMPLETELY different coin than the now famous 1974-D Aluminum Lincoln Cent that we purchased in 2013. The 1974-D Aluminum Cent is currently truly unique, meaning it is the ONLY one known of it’s type. We mention this because of the extremely high volume of phone calls and emails we have received from people who are confusing the very common 1943 Steel Penny that they have with the extremely RARE 1974-D Aluminum penny, because they do look quite similar.

A very few 1943 dated Lincoln Cents were struck on bronze planchets, and these are EXTREMELY rare!! 99.9% of the 1943 bronze pennies we see are 1943 Steel Penny that have been copper plated. Similar to all of the supposed 1974-D Aluminum pennies we see are just regular 1974-D Copper pennies that have been silver plated.

If you have questions about your coins or currency, please contact us!!

jeffrey@lajollacoin.com      858-459-2228 

chad@sandiegocoin.com     858-569-5222

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.