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How Rare is a 1943 Penny?

By September 18, 2006

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The 1943 Steel Penny is unusual because it's the only silver colored wheat penny officially issued. One of the most frequently asked questions I get (right behind "How rare are two-headed coins?") is "How rare is my 1943 penny?"

The answer depends on what the 1943 penny is made out of. If it is silvery in color, it is made out of steel (with a zinc coating to make it look nicer). They are fairly common in good condition, since people tended to squirrel them away when they were issued because they were unusual. Learn more about the 1943 Steel Penny.

If the 1943 penny is made out copper, it is worth quite a bit of money, generally $10,000 or more! The reason is that the 1943 copper penny is an error coin. The Mint accidently used the wrong kind of planchet metal when the coin was struck, but very, very few of these actually left the Mint. Unfortunately, there are plenty of fake 1943 copper cents floating around. Some were intended to be novelty items, and are just steel pennies dipped, or plated, in copper. Others are fraud attempts, where someone has taken a genuine 1948 copper penny and cut the 8 in half, making it look like a 3. Fortunately, there are very easy tests to determine if your 1943 copper penny is genuine.

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Photo of the 1943 Steel Penny courtesy of the Coin Page.


June 4, 2008 at 9:45 pm
(1) paul wever says:

thanks for the info, it helped me prove my point to my dad.

June 25, 2008 at 7:21 pm
(2) nathan says:

so if i have a steel 1943 penny how much money should i get ?

August 9, 2008 at 8:37 pm
(3) Kid A says:

the steel 1943 pennies are pretty much worthless.

August 26, 2008 at 3:39 pm
(4) lalit says:

I found real copper 1943D penny from the cruise please can some one tell me where to sell it and how much it can be? I tried with magnet also.
please reply to me

August 26, 2008 at 3:54 pm
(5) Susan Headley says:


Congratulations on your exciting find! Before you start spending the $75k it might be worth, though, please see this link:

How to Tell if Your 1943 Copper Penny Is Genuine

Pay particular attention to the shape of the date in the photo. If you still think your coin might be genuine (rather than altered or plated) you can email me good, clear photos of the coin (front and back) or take them to a local coin dealer for an opinion. He can help you send it in for authentication if he thinks it’s genuine.

Susan Headley
About.com Guide to Coins

August 29, 2008 at 7:31 pm
(6) ashley says:

I found a 1943 copper penney it worked on a magnet is it real??

August 30, 2008 at 5:03 pm
(7) Susan Headley says:


Your 1943 penny is only copper-coated steel if it sticks to a magnet. Steel is attracted to magnets, but copper is not. You can learn more in the article about checking to see if your copper 1943 is genuine in my previous Comment (above).

Susan Headley
About.com Guide to Coins

January 13, 2009 at 3:14 pm
(8) Deano says:

When I was in high school (’75-’77) I had filled two huge gallon glass bottles with wheat back pennies that I’d been collecting since the 60′s. When I went off to college, my dad decided they were his and I never saw them again. He said he was looking through them and would return them, but I never did see them again and never asked. In 1980, he did help me buy a new Toyota with cash, which was uncharacteristic of him. Maybe he found a ’43 Copper?

March 12, 2009 at 11:23 am
(9) sushil says:

I have more coin of 150 year ago and i want sell so how can i sell the coins. coin 1962 victoryia queen and others

April 29, 2009 at 10:25 pm
(10) Carissa says:

Hi i found a 1943 penny it was awhile ago when i found it but i spent it :( i wish i never had spent it!!!!!!! i thought of sharing that with u :)

June 20, 2009 at 3:41 pm
(11) Godzilla says:

You never found a copper 1943 penny. There were only 14 or so ever found. Chances of actually finding one are practically 0%

August 3, 2009 at 4:25 am
(12) jesus jaramillo says:

I have a 1943 penny on a magnet and i wanted 2 sale.

August 29, 2009 at 8:34 pm
(13) Georgia says:

I have 103 zinc (or metal pennies) saved by my grandmother and given to me in the 60′s. They were for more than one year. One website says they were only made for one year. I have 2-3 years, but no 1943. I have over 300 wheat pennies, but no 1943. I live in MO. Where would be a good place to check their value? Thank you.

August 31, 2009 at 5:09 pm
(14) Mike says:

I saw this in the news about 7 years ago. Some idiot down in Fort Myers FL used a genuine documented 1943 copper penny at a corner store. I don’t think it was ever returned to him.

September 12, 2009 at 11:14 pm
(15) No name says:

I have been collecting coins for about ten years.I have every wheat penny ever made, including the 1943 steal penny, the 1943 copper(yes it is authentic), And a 1943 steal/copper, Now this one is extremely rare.No it is not dipped. When they changed over to the steal planchet, Their was still copper in the die and it made a “shard” like look mixing both materials. To the Governments knowledge.quote unquote” this never happened. I only know of 3 in the entire world and one was destroyed and I have one so there is still one left. How much Is this worth? P.S. I know it rarity and it is NOT for sale….Thanks all

September 29, 2009 at 3:52 pm
(16) Daniel says:

If you have a 1943 copper penny you have found I will buy it for $10 cash. No questions asked.

October 2, 2009 at 12:17 am
(17) pedro de alvarado says:

i have 13 still penny’s dated 1943 and tested whita magnet and stuk to.can yuo tellme where to sell such penny’s? please advice,thank’s

October 14, 2009 at 7:40 am
(18) D Smith says:

I have several penny blanks that were never stamped. Are they worth anything?

October 31, 2009 at 9:27 am
(19) Skip Peddle says:

In all the comment no one has said how many were actually struck at the mint in 1943, what is that number.

November 4, 2009 at 3:14 pm
(20) bradley says:

Anyone intersted in a MS67 NGC graded ap43s steel/zince penny..let me know and throw out an offer!


November 26, 2009 at 11:10 am
(21) John says:

Hi I found the other day at my friends corner store a 1943 steel penny it has a lot of dark discoloring on it I tried to polish it off and they wont come out and under the 1943 there is a letter looks like it could be a (B) or (D) not sure there is some dark discoloring around the 43 and little where the letter is. Does anyone know what are all the known letters that could be under the date?

December 23, 2009 at 7:12 am
(22) shawn says:

hi i have 3 1943 wheat penny’s 2 of them are copper and dont stick to a magnet and one is steel how much would you think i could get for them? and also i got a 1944 steel penny and a 1909 V.B.D how much money would i have for that??

January 1, 2010 at 1:08 pm
(23) a stevens says:

i have a steel penny wuth the date of 19 3. it seems to be a 1943 but without the 4. Is this a rare one or just a fake.

January 21, 2010 at 1:05 pm
(24) John Gatchel says:

i have a 1943 penny and it has its own little case that holds it its made out of paper and plastic the package has not been opend and inside of it it has this brown powdery substance is that good or bad??

February 18, 2010 at 12:17 pm
(25) CHESTER C says:


March 10, 2010 at 5:07 pm
(26) Kelvin W. says:

I found a 1916 wheat penny, without a back too it?!? It is clearly a manufacture miss hap. It is very smooth on the back side, I doubt anyone could have done this. I’m wondering what kind of rarity this would be?!?

March 11, 2010 at 10:24 pm
(27) nancy says:

I have a buffalo head nickel or a.k.a indian head and it is the size of my fingertip…has anyone ever heard of this?

April 5, 2010 at 6:31 pm
(28) orion says:

wrong!!!!!!!!! it was not copper because the world war 2 was going on all of the copper was used for bullets.

April 8, 2010 at 8:03 pm
(29) coiner says:

IMPORTANT!!!!!!!! they were indeed made out of copper. during the year 1943 world war II was going on and the united states became involved. during this time copper was hard to get so they replaced the copper pennies with ones made out of steel. as the steel pennies were being printed there was still approximately 40 blank copper pennies that were printed along with the new steel pennies. the us also made steel pennies coated with copper but the only valuable 1943 penny is the ones made out of pure copper. to tell if your penny is genuine first look at the date, the bottom of the number three should stick out from under the other numbers, if the bottom of the three does not stick out it is faked by cutting the 8 in half to make a three. next to tell if it is pure copper try and stick it to a magnet if it does not stick it is copper so take it to a professional to look at it.

May 26, 2010 at 11:09 am
(30) kelly says:

So how much is the sliver 1943 pennie wheat

July 17, 2010 at 6:18 pm
(31) coincollector says:

I found a 1943 copper penny in my grandmother’s coin collection. I do not have it with me; it’s at my Grandmother’s house. It is in about the same condition as this one:


How much would this be worth?

Also, how much would a mint condition 1943 steel penny be worth? How much would a 1974 aluminum penny be worth?

Thank you

July 24, 2010 at 9:02 pm
(32) cameron says:

hey im only 13 sorry for being so young but i have a set of 1943 steel pennies there are 5 and they have never been touched they are in a hard plastic case i was wondering if i should sell, for how much?

August 31, 2010 at 12:24 pm
(33) ani says:

i have a 1933 penny.made by copper’weight is 33.21gram.dia is 43.5mm .queen in the both side. i want to sale it.

September 13, 2010 at 4:12 pm
(34) kid says:

I have a 1944 wheat penny In OK condition im a goober

September 21, 2010 at 8:58 am
(35) Boosh says:

Well it would seem that every one of the 1943′s made from copper have all been accounted for in this thread…and several that never existed at all. Since we are telling stories here I have a plutonium 1612 twenty dollar bill minted before the United States was even founded from the secret mint on the moon.

November 27, 2010 at 10:32 pm
(36) Kenny says:

I found a 1943D silver penny is it worth anything

December 10, 2010 at 1:56 pm
(37) fausto ovallre says:

I have a silver penny 1943 .how is prices?

December 27, 2010 at 4:51 pm
(38) felice says:

i would like to know where to sell 1943 pennies to?
and how much it is worth?
please e mail me asap.
thank you

December 28, 2010 at 10:56 am
(39) JONATHAN says:


December 29, 2010 at 12:08 pm
(40) Kyle says:

Value (US$): $200,000+

Updated as of 10/2010:

1943 plain – $35,000 to $137,000 depending on condition
1943 S – $125,000 to $275,000
1943 D – up to $1.75 million at auction

About 40 1943 copper cents are known to remain in existence. If it sticks to the magnet, it is a steel penny, and not valuable. If it does not stick, then you might have hit the jackpot, have a expert authenticate your coin.

1 — The coin will not stick to a magnet.
2 — The weight of the coin is 48 grains or 3.11 grams.
3 — The “3″ in 1943 has the same long tail as the “steelies.”
4 — The quality of the strike is exceptionally sharp especially around the rim because the bronze coin was struck with the same higher pressure as the steel pennies.
5 — Have the coin authenticated by and independent grading service.
A 1943 Lincoln cent – zinc-coated steel – is worth in G4 (good condition): 10 cents; if its mint state is MS60, the value rises to: $5. == Copper == If you can find a copper 1943, they have sold between $40,000 and $80,000, but I think the lowest grade that has been auctioned was a Very Fine, so if it is only in Good condition, it might go a bit lower. But it’s been a couple of years since the last sale, so it could bring more. It’s one of those things that you can’t really predict the value some buyer might place on it until it has been sold. === Counterfeits === There are bazillions of fake copper 1943 cents. If the coin sticks to a magnet, it’s a 1943 steel cent that’s been plated. If the tail of the “3″ in the date is rounded in almost a half-circle rather than nearly straight, it’s a 1948 cent that’s been altered. Either way they’re damaged coins. If neither of these conditions holds, it’s still likely to be a fake made either by casting or electronic “sputtering”.
If it’s real it should weigh 3.11 gm and have a clear “ding” when (gently) dropped on a hard table. If so, it should be checked by a certified expert in rare coins.

January 17, 2011 at 3:46 pm
(41) tom slick says:

I have a 1943 penny that is worth at least $1 million dollars. I am only asking $1/2 million for it. Please send your cash to: Tom Slick, 1 slick lane, Gotcha, CA 90210

January 19, 2011 at 9:07 am
(42) Mack says:

Hey Godzilla u dumb ass get your facts straight. 1943 plain –
$35,000 to $137,000 depending on condition
1943 S – $125,000 to $275,000
1943 D – up to $1.75 million at auction

About 40 1943 copper cents are known to remain in existence. The easiest way to determine if your 1943 cent is copper (and valuable) is to test it with a magnet. If it sticks to the magnet, it is a steel penny, and not valuable. If it does not stick, then you might have hit the jackpot… have a expert authenticate your coin.

January 24, 2011 at 12:19 am
(43) Shawn says:

Is the 1940 copper penny worth anything more than 1 cent it looks the same

January 29, 2011 at 3:14 am
(44) Titus says:

I found a 1943 steel penny.

January 31, 2011 at 7:57 am
(45) big daddy says:

i got new socks

February 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm
(46) Nick says:

I found a silver 1943 penny, its has a few rust spots, probably because its steel, well, its not worth but a few cents anyway :(

February 7, 2011 at 6:55 pm
(47) samantha says:

i have a penny that looks like it is silver or steel and its 1943 and it has nop letter. how much is it worth

February 15, 2011 at 11:15 am
(48) Tartop says:

I found a penny on the ground the other day and all that day I had good luck…….

February 17, 2011 at 3:01 pm
(49) BahamaBabybqg says:
February 24, 2011 at 10:11 am
(50) michael zdunich says:

Hello guys! I have a 1925s wheat penny :) perfecto condition! how much is it worth? not that i would ever sell it anyway :p i also have a 1926 wheatpenny, 1934 wheat penny.I also have 2 1941D wheat pennies. and a 1942D wheat penny. Ive been looking sooo hard for a 1943Wheat penny but seems impossible!!! I also have a 1909S VBD wheat penny. how much is dat? everybody tells me its worth a penny but i saw that its worth like 5bucks er somthing :) I again probebly never sell it haha.;p

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