1943 Penny

The 1943

penny is one of the most talked about pennies in the Lincoln Cent series. Over

a billion examples of the 1943 Penny were produced between the three mints of

the United States during the year of 1943. Just saying that would make anyone

wonder what all the commotion is surrounding the 1943 Penny. And they would

be right in their strange curiosity if it were any other year being talked about

other than the 1943 Penny of the Lincoln Cent series. Firstly, to aid in the

massive war effort, both in the Pacific and European theaters, the country needed

bullets. More specifically: shell casings for bullets. And, since the Lincoln

Cent was made from copper, why not sacrifice the copper slated to be used in

production of the 1943 Penny.


else was making sacrifices to help the Allies to victory so it only seemed proper

that ole' Abraham Lincoln give up his copper to help the Yanks abroad, and so

he did. That left the United States Treasury with a question. How were they

to produce the vast amounts of the 1943 Penny needed to keep the economy rolling.

The answer was steel coated zinc, giving rise to the black sheep of the Lincoln

Cent series: the shiny, silver looking 1943 Penny. By moving to the steel coated

zinc 1943 Penny, that left room for the 3 United States Mints to make errors.

Errors that were emphatically denied by the Treasury until, after several lobbying

attempts by the first discoverer of the first, very rare error, Kenneth Wing,

who as a 14 year child found the first 1943 Penny made from a copper planchet

in a bank roll in Long Beach which was delivered from the United States Mint

at San Francisco. The 1943 Penny made from a copper planchet is very desirable

in the numismatic world, which also makes it very likely to be counterfeited.

The easiest

way to determine if a 1943 Penny made from copper is real is to apply a magnet

to it. If it sticks, it is not real. Another version of the 1943 Penny made

in error is the 1943 penny minted onto a silver dime planchet. These are less

easy to identify because they look similar to the steel coated zinc 1943 Penny.

The best way to determine if a 1943 Penny is made with a silver planchet is

to use an X-Ray Spectrometer like the one at Nevada Coin & Jewelry in Las Vegas.

In all likelihood, if you find a silver looking 1943 penny, it is one of the

steel coated zinc variety and those usually trade on the open market for around

3 cents each due to their overwhelming lack of rarity.

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