1943 Lincoln Copper Penny Value Guide - Rarest.org (2023)

What Is the 1943 Lincoln Copper Penny Made Of?

The 1943 copper Lincoln penny is among the most interesting years for the popular 1-cent coin. As you may remember, the United States was in the middle of the second World War, and this affected how the Lincoln penny and the rest of the US coins were manufactured.

Here’s an interesting fact you need to consider: the 1943 Lincoln penny was primarily made of zinc-coated steel, not copper. However, according to some estimates, there are currently about 10 to 40 1943 Lincoln pennies that were discovered to be made of copper.

The 1943 Lincoln copper penny is made of 95% copper and 5% tin and Zinc. The weight is 3.11 grams, and the diameter is 19 millimeters. Because of its extreme rarity, the 1943 Lincoln copper penny is super expensive and valuable.

For the design, it is essentially the same as other Lincoln pennies. It features Abraham Lincoln on the obverse. Inscriptions include the following:

  • 1943
  • Mint mark

On the reverse side of the coin, you’ll find two stalks of wheat, which gives it the nickname “Wheat penny.” The inscriptions include:


You might wonder, “Why did the US Mint change the composition of the Lincoln penny in 1943?”

The answer is that the United States needed copper because it was an important raw material in making weapons, particularly bullets, for the war. At that time, the US Congress instructed the US Mint to change the composition of the US coins. The US Government needed as much copper as possible.

Since the penny was made of 95% copper, it was the primary coin affected by the new law. In 1943, the Lincoln penny transitioned from bronze to steel.

Nevertheless, there were still some 1943 pennies that were struck on a bronze planchet. According to some theories, this happened because some blank cupronickel planchets remained in the press hopper. So, when the production of the steel penny had started, the cupronickel planchets were accidentally added to the circulation.

(Video) Super rare copper pennies worth money! 1943 Copper rare pennies to look for in circulation!

1943 Lincoln Copper Penny Varieties

There were only less than 50 1943 copper pennies today. Nevertheless, these pennies were struck in the three mint centers, giving rise to three varieties.

Moreover, the 1943 copper pennies struck in Philadelphia have three subtypes determined based on color. The subtypes are Brown, Red and Brown, and Red. Generally speaking, the redder the coin’s color, the more valuable they are.

The three types of the 1943 Lincoln copper penny are 1943-D, 1943-P, and 1943-S copper pennies. Here’s a deeper look at each of them:

1943 D Copper Lincoln Copper Penny

Type: Lincoln Wheat Penny
Edge: Plain
Mint Mark: D
Place of minting: Denver
Year of minting: 1943
Face Value: $0.01 (one cent)
Price: $212,750 to $840,000
Quantity produced: Unknown
Designer: Victor David Brenner
Composition: 95% Copper and 5% Tin and Zinc
Mass: 3.11 grams
Diameter: 19.00 mm
Thickness: 1.75 millimeters

1943 Lincoln Copper Penny Value Guide - Rarest.org (1)Image source: PCGS

At the time of this writing, there’s only one 1943-D copper penny known to have existed. Not only that, but the 1943-P copper is the best example of the 1943 copper penny varieties.

The story behind this particular coin is interesting. According to coin historians John Wexler and Kevin Flynn, the coin was first owned by a former employee working in the Denver Mint. It was believed that he deliberately struck the copper planchet with the 1943 penny die. He even struck the coin twice to make it as detailed as possible.

The existence of the copper coin was kept secret until this employee died. The coin was then given to one of his children. In 1996, this person then auctioned the coin to Superior Galleries. Before it was auctioned, the coin was first assessed by ANACS, and it was declared to be a genuine coin.

Afterward, the coin was then sent to NGC to be graded. It achieved a grade of MS64BN. PCGS also gave the same grade.

(Video) Rare 1943 Copper Coin Fetches Pretty Penny In Florida Auction

There’s also a different version of the story. According to Dr. Sol Taylor, John R. Sinnock, the former Chief Engraver of the US Mint, struck the bronze 1943 penny.

No matter how the 1943-D copper originated, it is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after and expensive pennies.

1943 P Copper Washington Quarter

Type: Lincoln Wheat Penny
Edge: Plain
Mint Mark: none
Place of minting: Philadelphia
Year of minting: 1943
Face Value: $0.01 (one cent)
Price: $186,000 to $372,000
Quantity produced: Unknown
Designer: Victor David Brenner
Composition: 95% Copper and 5% Tin and Zinc
Mass: 3.11 grams
Diameter: 19.00 mm
Thickness: 1.75 millimeters

1943 Lincoln Copper Penny Value Guide - Rarest.org (2)

Image source: PCGS

The Philadelphia Mint also produced a few of the 1943 copper pennies. Although the exact number is unknown. The 1943-P copper penny comes in three types: Brown, Red-Brown, and Red.

The price is just astronomical. Can you imagine how a coin with a face value of 1 cent will be sold for around $186,000 to $372,000? That’s amazing.

Of course, because of the extreme rarity of this 1943 copper, some people have thought it could be worth a million dollars. Nevertheless, no record shows that a penny was sold for this amount.

The 1943-P penny took the world of coin collectors by storm. So, it’s no wonder that a few people tried and are trying to create fake 1943-P copper pennies. To be sure, you can use a magnet. If the penny sticks to the magnet, it is not a real copper coin.


1943 S Washington Quarter

Type: Lincoln Wheat Penny
Edge: Plain
Mint Mark: S
Place of minting: San Francisco
Year of minting: 1943
Face Value: $0.01 (one cent)
Price: $141,000 to $504,000
Quantity produced: 5
Designer: Victor David Brenner
Composition: 95% Copper and 5% Tin and Zinc
Mass: 3.11 grams
Diameter: 19.00 mm

1943 Lincoln Copper Penny Value Guide - Rarest.org (3)

Image source: PCGS

At the time of this writing, there were only 5 1943-S copper coins that have been discovered. Despite the intense and persistent search for this rare coin, only a few showed up. It was in 1944 that the first 1943-S copper appeared. A 14-year-old collector discovered it.

List of 1943 Lincoln copper Penny Errors

The 1943 copper penny is itself an error coin. It was a type of planchet error. All 1943 Lincoln pennies were supposed to be made of steel. Yet, a few 1943 1-cent coins were made of copper.

How Much Is The 1943 Lincoln Copper Penny Worth Today?

The 1943 Lincoln copper penny has a face value of one cent. Its melt value isn’t too much, which can be just less than $1.

Nevertheless, the true value of the 1943 Lincoln copper penny lies in its numismatic value. Take a look at this chart to help you better understand its price:

CoinConditionGradeMintage Value
1943 D Lincoln PennyChoice Uncirculated – BrownMS 641$212,750 to $840,000
1943 P Lincoln PennyExtremely Fine – BrownXF 45Unknown$186,000 to $193,875
1943 P Lincoln PennyAbout Uncirculated – BrownAU 50 to AU 58Unknown$204,000 to $336,000
1943 P Lincoln PennyUncirculated – BrownMS-60 to MS-62Unknown$97,750 to $372,000
1943 P Lincoln PennyExtremely Fine – BrownXF 45Unknown$186,000 to $193,875
1943 P Lincoln PennyAbout Uncirculated – BrownAU 50 to AU 58Unknown$204,000 to $336,000
1943 P Lincoln PennyUncirculated – BrownMS 60 to MS 62Unknown$97,750 to $372,000
1943 S Lincoln PennyVery Fine – BrownVF 35Unknown$141,000 to $207,000
1943 S Lincoln PennyAbout UncirculatedAU 53 to AU 55Unknown$211,500 to $282,000
1943 S Lincoln PennySelect UncirculatedMS-63Unknown$504,000

How Does The Grading System Work?

The 1943 copper penny is graded the same way other coins in the US are graded. Because it is a rare and special coin, the appraiser must carefully handle it.

If you believe you have a 1943 copper penny, you can have it examined by an expert from PCGS, NGC, ANACS, or any professional coin grading service provider. Once your copper penny is officially graded, it can dramatically increase its value, especially if it is declared as a genuine example.

(Video) Another rare 1943 copper penny certified! Check your change and look for this coin in circulation!

The appraiser would check the color, attractiveness, level of preservation, and luster of your 1943 penny. Using the Sheldon chart, the appraiser will give your penny a grade from 1 to 70 — 70 is the perfect score.

No 1943 copper penny has ever received a perfect score of MS70. If there is, then that would be extremely rare. It can be worth hundreds of dollars.

Are There Any Rare 1943 Lincoln Copper Penny?

All 1943 Lincoln copper pennies are rare. However, the rarest of them all is the 1943-D variety up to this day since only one example was found.

Where To Buy Or Sell 1943 Lincoln Copper Penny?

Since the 1943 Lincoln copper penny is rare, a simple Google search might not yield many results. While yes, you can easily find Lincoln copper pennies struck in 1943 on the Internet, you need to be extra careful because many fake 1943 copper pennies are out there.

Moreover, if you want to be sure, visit the website of coin grading service providers such as ANACS, ICG, PCGS, and NGC. These reputable companies regularly grade coins; if they have graded a genuine 1943 copper penny, they would have a record. They would know whether it is for sale or not as well. They can also tell you how to buy a 1943 Lincoln copper penny.

If you have a 1943 Lincoln copper penny and want to sell it, you can contact auction houses such as Heritage Auctions, Bowers & Merena, and Legend Rare Coin Auctions, to name a few. They can help you sell your coin at an even higher price. Of course, you can sell your coin on eBay or Amazon, but the price might not be that high.


How much should a 1943 copper penny weigh?

A 1943 copper penny weighs 3.11 grams. It is slightly heavier than the 1943 steel penny, which is 2.70 grams. Pennies struck from 1982 to the present weigh 2.5 grams.

How can you tell if a 1943 copper penny is real?

You can do a magnet test. A genuine 1943 copper penny shouldn’t stick to the magnet. If it sticks to the magnet, then it is more likely to be made of steel.

What are the odds of finding a 1943 copper penny?

According to some estimates, the odds of you finding one 1943 copper penny is about one in 15 million, considering there are about 200 million standard-struck pennies.

(Video) 1943 Penny Value - 1943 Steel Lincoln Copper Penny Value


Is a 1943 copper penny worth $1000000? ›

Yes, the PCGS-graded 1943 and 1943-S copper pennies were priced at $1 million, and the 1943-D copper penny was priced at $1.5 million. Today at auction, the standard 1943 copper penny can sell for $100,000 to $250,000.

Which 1943 copper penny is worth a lot of money? ›

1943 “D” Copper Penny

All the 1943 copper pennies from the Denver mint will sell for many dollars. At a G-4 rating, it can sell for at least 100,000 USD. You'll earn around 150,000 USD if the coin is in a fine state. PCGS rates them as having the best price of 1.5 million dollars in their highest mint state.

How do I know if my 1943 penny is rare? ›

Check to see if your penny has a steel core. In 1943, the US mint switched from using copper to using steel due to a shortage of copper. Copper core versions of the 1943 coin are worth exponentially more than the steel core versions as they are considered a rare mintage error.

How much is a rare 1943 copper penny worth? ›

The Rare 1943 Penny

If your 1943 penny is made out of 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 United States Mint accidentally used the wrong planchet metal when striking the coin.

How can you tell if a 1943 penny is bronze? ›

Try picking your coin up with a magnet. If your coin is attracted to the magnet, it is made of copper-plated steel (a fraud). If the magnet does not attract your coin, it may be made of bronze and you should have the coin authenticated to determine if it is the "real deal". In 1943, the U.S.

What year copper penny is worth the most? ›

The Most Expensive Penny

The first 1943 copper cent was sold in 1958 for more than $40,000. In 1996, another went for a whopping $82,500. But those sales pale in comparison with the latest: this week, a dealer in New Jersey sold his 1943 penny for a staggering $1.7 million.

What is the rarest 1943 penny? ›

A rare copper penny that a Massachusetts man found in his lunch money more than 70 years ago has been auctioned for more than $200,000. The 1943 penny is one of 20 that were accidentally minted when the federal government was trying to conserve copper for World War II.

Which 1943 s steel penny is valuable? ›

How Rare Is the 1943 Steel Penny? There are also some significant varieties among the 1943 steel cents, including the 1943-D/D repunched mintmark. This widely collected variety is worth more than $100 in Extremely Fine-40 and upward of $400 in Mint State-63.

What is the error on a 1943 penny? ›

The famed error for the 1943 penny is the copper one, as the USA switched metals from copper to steel in order to conserve metal for their war effort.

How much is a 1943 D steel penny worth today? ›

The 1943-D/D steel penny with a re-punched mintmark is highly sought after as it fetches $100 for fine-40 up to $400 for mint state-63 variety. Though the mintage figure is unknown, estimates show about 3,000-5,000 may exist across the grades. The non-error steel-made cents are not rare.

How much is a 1943 D steel wheat penny worth? ›

1943 D Wheat Penny Value

According to the NGC Price Guide, as of March 2023, a Wheat Penny from 1943 in circulated condition is worth between $0.05 and $1.25. However, on the open market 1943 D Pennies in pristine, uncirculated condition sell for as much as $1900.

How much is a zinc 1943 penny worth? ›

They are worth about 10 to 13 cents each in circulated condition and as much as 50 cents or more if uncirculated.

How many 1943 copper pennies are there in the world? ›

But during the War, in 1943 there were a few pennies that made it into circulation that were actually copper, during the time when the pennies were made from steel. An estimated 40 pennies were believed to have been produced, with 12 that are known positively to be in existence.

When was the last 1943 copper penny found? ›

1943 copper cent

Examples were discovered after the War, with the first two in 1947, and another in 1958. That example appeared in a 1958 Abe Kosoff sale, but was withdrawn prior to the sale; one mint condition Denver Mint specimen sold for over $1.7 million in 2010.

What is the rarest steel penny? ›

The 1944 no mintmark steel cent only has a reported mintage of 30, in comparison to more than one million minted in 1943. In 1943, a few bronze pennies were also minted. The bronze 1943 penny is one of the rarest coins in existence, and it sold for $204,000 in an auction in 2019.

What are the 15 most valuable pennies? ›

Rare Pennies
  • 1914-S Lincoln Penny.
  • 1944-D Lincoln Penny (Zinc-coated steel)
  • 1909-S VDB Lincoln Penny.
  • 1872 Indian Head Penny.
  • 1969-S Lincoln Penny-Doubled Die Obverse.
  • 1926-S Lincoln Penny.
  • 1877 Indian Head Penny.
  • 1914-D Lincoln Penny.
Sep 17, 2022

Why is the 1943 penny worth $1000000? ›

All 1943 Lincoln cents were supposed to be made of steel planchets coated with zinc. However, some bronze planchets left over from 1942 slipped into the production process. These error coins are extremely rare and highly sought after by error coin collectors.

How do I know if my 1943 penny is steel or copper? ›

The easiest way to determine if a 1943 cent is made of steel, and not copper, is to use a magnet. If it sticks to the magnet, it is not copper. If it does not stick, the coin might be of copper and should be authenticated by an expert.

What copper penny is worth $1000000? ›

But a 1943 one-of-a-kind copper alloy Lincoln penny struck at the Denver Mint was recently sold by a New Jersey coin dealer for a record $1.7 million.

What pennies are worth $1000000? ›

The 1943 copper penny is a one million dollar penny! This copper penny was suppose to be a 1943 steel penny.

What penny is worth one million? ›

Here's a rare 1943 Lincoln penny: The coin was mistakenly struck in bronze rather than zinc-coated steel, one has just sold for $1 million. Do we have any coin collectors out there? Susan Adams and 14,327 others like this.

What penny is worth $50000? ›

The 1959-D wheat penny is one of the most controversial mule coins ever. It's worth $50,000!


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