There are couple of coins as famous as the 1943 copper penny, really rare mint error the is worth a many money. The 1943 copper Lincoln cent first came to irradiate in the mid-1940s and quickly took the numismatic people by storm. Throughout this time, the United states Mint was striking pennies from zinc-coated stole planchets. This was to aid save copper for civilization War II ammunition shells. However, a small variety of bronze planchets left over from the 1942 production remained in the mint presses. As a result, they to be accidentally struck through 1943-dated dies.

The result? A total of probably 20 to 30 of this 1943 copper cent were produced cumulatively in ~ the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mints. Constantly worth big money, this error has actually commanded prices as high as 7 figures. 

Identifying A 1943 copper Cent

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1943 copper penny

One that the most typical questions people ask is, “do I have a 1943 copper penny?” one of the point out of confusion is behind “which” 1943 penny is rare. Many human being hear the there is a rarely 1943 penny the end there and also therefore assume all 1943 pennies room valuable. Rather still confused the 1943 stole penny (pictured below) as the rare coin due to the fact that of its inexplicable appearance together a silvery-colored Lincoln cent. But, if steel cent are quite common—more than 1 billion were made throughout the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mints—it"s the copper 1943 cent it is rare. 

Here’s how you can tell the difference in between the common 1943 stole cent (typically worth 10 cents to $1) versus the 1943 copper cent:

Does her 1943 penny stick come a magnet? – If the does, the a typical 1943 cent. If that doesn’t, there’s a chance it might be the rarely copper penny, but it still have to be tested for authenticity. 

What does her 1943 cent weigh? – A typical 1943 stole cent weighs 2.7 grams, when the rare bronze one would click in at roughly 3.1 grams. You need to use a scale that measures down come at the very least a tenth-of-a-gram increments. Those cent weighing in increments that a gram will give a false hopeful here since of rounding. 

What around the “3”? – your 1943 copper coin absolutely have to look specifically like a 1943 stole cent in terms of design and the shaping the the letters and also numbers. Any kind of differences below suggest the coin may have been transformed to appear as a 1943 copper cent. Among the most common diagnostics is the font the the “3” in the date—it should exactly complement the “3” top top a 1943 steel cent. Any type of differences below on a suspected 1943 copper cent need to send up large red flags. 


Steel Lincoln Wheat cent

What do You execute If friend Think You have A 1943 Copper Cent?

Celebrate a little—but don’t invest all her money fairly yet. You still should make certain the coin is authentic! even if the coin you think to it is in a 1943 copper cent checks out with your own tests—meaning that is no magnetic and weighs about 3.1 grams and also appears to have actually an unaltered architecture (notice all the “ands,” no “ors” here)—then you should think about having it authenticated by trusted third-party grading service. 

You see, the 1943 copper cent no the kind of coin you’ll have the ability to 100% authenticate on her own. And if you suppose to to walk it right into your nearest coin shop only to dance out the door five minutes later on with a stash the cold, hard cash in your hands, climate you’re regrettably bound to it is in a bit disappointed. Why? because that’s not just how it works with the 1943 copper cent! also if you are sure you have actually the 100% genuine McCoy in your hands, there room too many fakes out there because that anyone to buy a 1943 copper cent there is no having finish certainty the it’s authentic. 

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Lincoln cents. Photo: Olichel Adamovich

Almost every day, your common coin dealer in Anytown, U.S.A. Obtain at least one or 2 calls native an excited individual who has “the” 1943 cent. And what turns out happening practically every time is the coin winds up being a fake—a 1943 steel cent plated in copper. Or possibly it’s an changed coin, probably a 1945, 1948, or 1949 Lincoln cent retooled to appear as a 1943. This dealers additionally see lot of of rusty 1943 cent that “look like” copper to the collector. 

What’s more, even if you have actually a 1943 bronze cent passed under in your household from somebody that was a diehard collector, that doesn’t necessarily median that coin is authentic. Countless old-time coin collection are discovered to have actually counterfeit coins that are advanced in appearance. This coins might easily sneak previous even countless of the much more advanced collectors. Counterfeits, transformed coins, and also other fakes are among our hobbies" most far-reaching problems and also have been because that a lengthy time. This is partly why third-party coin grading services arised in the 1980s. 

If you think you have a 1943 copper cent—and every little thing checks out v it for this reason far, what you might do is bring it come a reliable coin dealer for an in-hand inspection. Maybe he or she might then aid you in acquiring it graded through a third-party coin grading company. As soon as the coin is certified together authentic and graded, the dealer might then it is in interested in buying the coin indigenous you. Friend could also consider consigning the authenticated coin with an auction company, i beg your pardon is how plenty of 1943 copper pennies space sold. 

How lot Is A 1943 Copper Cent Worth?

It’s quite literally the million-dollar question! The all-time document price because that a 1943 bronze cent is $1.7 million. This price to be paid for the just known instance of a 1943-D copper penny graded MS64BN by professional Coin Grading Service.

Prices have actually gone means up for the 1943 copper penny end the years. Earlier in 1981, an instance of the 1943 copper cent made nationwide news once it offered for $10,000. Part 15 years later, another example sold for $82,500 at a 1996 auction. Today, 1943 bronze cents generally fetch in between $100,000 and also $250,000. 

Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez is a journalist, editor, and blogger who has won many awards indigenous the Numismatic literature Guild. That has also authored plenty of books, including works profiling the background of the United says Mint and United says coinage.