Whether you're a seasoned coin collector or just someone interested in the stories behind everyday objects, exploring the world of the 1944 steel penny is sure to be a fascinating journey.
1944 steel pennies have been a popular collectible with collectors and investors since they were first minted. The first U.S. coin made of steel, the penny has become a classic piece of American history. It's popularity amongst collectors is due to its unique look and design, which some still prize as valuable today.
The value of these coins can vary drastically depending on the condition, year, mint mark, and more. Here's a guide to help you make sense of this historical piece of American history and how you can use that knowledge to make smart buying decisions. Read on!
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1944 Steel Penny Value
The value of a 1944 steel penny, like other wheat pennies, is subject to variation based on the mint mark. On average, a 1944 D steel penny in average condition can command a price of $34,000, while those with no mint mark in average condition can fetch around $28,000. An average-condition 1944 S steel penny can be worth up to $400,000, and a 1944 D Steel Penny can be worth $115,000 at an auction.
Therefore, while a 1944 penny in lower grades is worth its face value, a 1944 S Steel Penny in higher grades can fetch a significant amount.
1944 No Mint Mark Steel Penny Value
In 1944, only 30 steel pennies were minted at the Philadelphia Mint. Because of the low mintage and popularity with collectors, 1944 ‘P' Steel pennies are valued above face value. The ‘P' mint mark on a 1944 steel penny is one of collectors' most sought-after coins.
The ‘P' mark is located above or below the date on the obverse side of the coin – depending on how much light was shining through from behind when the coin was struck (i.e., if it was in brilliant light or dim light). In E.F. 40, the price is approximately $30,000; in MS 60—which includes a larger catalog of older coins and paper bills—the price rises closer to $60,000.
In 2021, a 1944 Steel Penny graded MS64 without a mintmark was sold at an auction for $180,000.
1944 S Steel Penny Value
The 1944 S Steel Penny is one of the most valuable coins in the United States. It was made for the U.S. Steel Corporation and was never intended to be circulated by the public, so only one or two may have been minted.
The value of a 1944 S Steel Penny depends on several factors: condition, luster, wear and tear, and estimated mintage numbers. A well-preserved coin can bring between $400,000 to $ 750,000 at auction.
The 1944 S Steel Penny is one of the most valuable coins. An MS 66 example sold for over $370,000—slightly underweight at 2.6 grams but hardly noticeable to the naked eye.
According to USA Coin Book, a 1944-S Steel Penny in average condition is worth $399,637, and can be worth over $1.11 million in an MS63 grade.
1944 Steel Penny Errors
1944 steel penny errors are the most common error on these coins. Various factors can cause these errors, including striking pressure and die wear. In 1944, the United States Mint ran out of new steel pennies due to wartime shortages. The Mint tried to make up for the shortage by reusing old pennies. This led to over 1 million steel pennies being used in circulation in 1944.
The most common 1944 error is called a “short date.” A short date means that the letter S is missing from a 1944 penny because it was struck with an old penny with a short date, such as 19 or 21. This error appears more often in cents than dimes and half dollars because fewer cents were minted in 1944 than in other denominations.
History Of The 1944 Steel Penny
During World War II, the need for copper, tin, and nickel increased as they were used in weapons manufacturing. At the same time, residents felt pinched by inflation and hoarded gold and silver coins to sell later.
The United States Mint began producing steel cents in 1943. They were made from steel because it was cheaper than copper, tin, or nickel. The Mint also wanted to ensure that the steel cents would not rust or corrode as easily as coins made from other materials such as silver or gold.
The United States Mint minted the 1944 steel penny during World War II as an emergency measure to help meet the demand for metals during this crucial period. Interestingly, this coin was not created as a replacement for regular pennies; instead, it was designed to replace silver dollars that had been demonetized due to their lack of availability during wartime conditions.
The final design for this coin came from a design competition held by the Treasury Department in 1943. The winning artist was chosen from four different designs submitted by several artists, including Frank W Dyer Jr., George T Morgan, Robert A Seltzer, and Victor David Brenner.
How to Identify A 1944 Steel Wheat Penny
This is a common question when people want to know if their 1944 steel wheat penny is genuine. The answer is simple:
The coins are easily identified by the portrait of President Abraham Lincoln on the obverse or front side of the coin. On all versions of this coin, Lincoln's hair is parted in the middle like it would be if he were about to be photographed for a formal portrait.
The wear on Lincoln's face is much more pronounced than on other coins in his likeness because they are made of steel rather than copper and nickel plating.
On the tail side of a 1944 penny are two inscriptions that reads, “The United States of America” and “One Cent.” The wheat stalks are on either side of the coin, with “E Pluribus Unum” at the top.
Mint marks indicate where the coin was minted. The mint marks are located on the coin's reverse and usually consist of letters or numbers.
The mint mark on a 1944 steel wheat penny will be either “P” or “D.” Mint marks can also be found on collector coins, so look closely at your coin to determine which minting it came from.
Weight And Dimensions
The weight and dimensions of this coin are important to know when trying to identify it because these factors will help you determine whether your 1944 steel wheat penny is real or fake. The 1944 steel wheat penny has a weight of 2.5 grams and a diameter of 1.6 millimeters.
The vast majority of 1944 pennies were made with copper (around 95%) and zinc (around 5%). Some very rare alloys were created by combining steel with other metals. Copper is the most common metal used in the production of 1944 pennies.
The coins are smooth, shiny, and somewhat heavy for their size. They have a distinctive color that can vary from copper to greenish copper depending on the alloy used.
Hold the coin near a magnet to determine whether a penny is made from copper or steel. If a penny is attracted to a magnet, it has more steel than copper in its composition. Most pennies minted between 1942 and 1945 are made of steel and can only be distinguished from earlier years' pennies if they have been corroded over time.
Of course, there is always originality and whether the coin has been damaged somehow. Then the price can be dramatically affected by the amount of numismatic collectors interested in purchasing it.
How much is a 1944 steel penny worth in good condition? ›
1944 STEEL Wheat Penny Value
According to the NGC Price Guide, as of February 2023, a Wheat Penny from 1944 in circulated condition is worth between $35000 and $43500. However, on the open market 1944 STEEL Pennies in pristine, uncirculated condition sell for as much as $175000.
Only the 1944 wheat pennies from San Francisco and Denver had a mint mark. The marks are “D” for Denver and “S” for San Francisco. They are present under the year 1944 on the obverse.What is the most expensive penny 1944? ›
However, 7 of these steel treasures have a “D” mint mark from the Denver Mint and 2 more the “S” from the San Francisco Mint. That last one is the rarest and most valuable of the set. The auction record for a 1944 Steel Cent from the Philadelphia Mint was $180,000. One from the Denver Mint has sold for $115,000.What makes a 1944 penny worth money? ›
The 1944 wheat penny is worth roughly 15 cents in average condition, always more than its face value. Some examples of 1944 Wheat Penny are also valuable because they contain errors or are in exceptional mint state condition, which are in high demand by collectors.How much is a 1944 zinc penny worth? ›
In low grades, a 1943 or 1944 penny is only worth its face value. But in high grades, a 1944 S Steel Penny once sold for $1,110,923, so your coin could be worth a million dollars! In 2021, a 1944 S Steel Penny sold for $108,000 in MS 64 while another sold for $408,000 in MS 66.How do you clean a 1944 steel penny? ›
Cleaning your old coins with gentle dish soap and water can loosen some of that built-up dirt. Fill a small plastic container with warm water, add a few drops of mild soap, immerse the coins, and rub with your fingers or a soft toothbrush to clean.How much is a 1944 s penny worth with no mint mark? ›
This section is more of a layman's guide, for those new to collecting. In Average Circulated (AC) condition it's worth around 15 cents, one in certified mint state (MS+) condition could bring as much as $8 at auction. This price does not reference any standard coin grading scale.Will a steel penny stick to a magnet? ›
Steel penny production saved enough copper to manufacture 1.25 million shells for American big-field guns during wartime. The 1943 steel penny is the only regular American coin that a magnet can pick up.How many 1944 steel pennies are known to exist? ›
With over 430 million 1944-D Wheat cents minted, it is estimated that tens of thousands of 1944-D/S error coins exist.Is a 1944 S penny worth a million dollars? ›
When it comes to the 1944-S steel cent, it is worth $399,637 in average condition and could be worth more than $1.11million in an MS63 grade, according to USA Coin Book. In 2021, one in an MS66 grade sold for a record $408,000 at a Heritage Auction.
How rare is a 1944 silver penny? ›
The 1944 Philadelphia-minted steel penny is one of the rarest American coins ever produced by the United States Mint. For years, it has been speculated that only around 35 of these penny errors were ever circulated, but recent findings have shown that there may be a few more than experts estimated.What is the rarest wheat penny? ›
“There are millions and millions of wheat pennies and most commonly they trade for three-to-five cents a piece. If you're looking for a particular date, it can be much, much more than that. The rarest is the 1909 VDB.What is a 1944 proof penny? ›
Item NU 5393 Proof Coin - 1 Penny, Australia, 1944
The reverse features a kangaroo leaping to the left; around above AUSTRALIA, around below, PENNY.; the Federation star is in the field to the left of the kangaroo and the date, 1944 is in the field below its tail. The artist's initials KG are above the tip of the tail.
Reputable coin dealers, Coin Auctions, eBay, and Price Guides are great places to start. If your coins are graded by one of the Top Tier grading services like PCGS or NGC, you can usually get a reasonable value estimate sight-unseen!Can you clean coins without losing value? ›
Most coin experts have since come out against cleaning coins, as doing so can negatively affect them both in grade and value. If a potentially valuable coin must be cleaned (for example if the coin is deformed) then professional work is recommended.Does water or vinegar clean a penny better? ›
We took them out and wiped each one off on a paper towel. You can see the surface of the pennies change and become shinier. You can then rinse them with running water and set them on a towel to dry. Vinegar and lemon juice both work really well for cleaning pennies.Why does vinegar clean pennies the best? ›
The combination of vinegar (a weak solution of acetic acid), and table salt (sodium chloride) helps to dissolve the copper oxide, and also forms the blue copper(II) ion, which is soluble in water. The penny becomes shiny again!How much is a 1943 steel penny worth if it sticks to a magnet? ›
To tell if your 1943 penny is worth a mil, put a magnet over it. If it sticks to the magnet, it is steel, but still worth anywhere between 20 cents and $20.Which steel penny is worth the most? ›
What is the most valuable 1943 steel penny? The 1943 “D” steel penny with the D over D error has the highest record price. In 2011, it sold for around 21,000 USD with an MS 67 grade.What coins do magnets attract? ›
Money and Magnets
Some coins from England and Canada are made of steel. Steel is a kind of metal. It is attracted to the magnetism of a magnet. These coins stick to magnets!
Which penny is worth 1.7 million dollars? ›
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 hardest wheat penny to find? ›
1. 1931-S Wheat Penny. The 1931 S Lincoln Wheat Penny is a key date in the series, with only 866,000 coins minted. Although it may sound like a lot, the average mintage numbers are usually in the millions!Are there any 1943 wheat pennies? ›
The coin was released during World War II as a result of a shortage of copper. The 1943 wheat penny is made of steel with a coating of zinc and is considered to be very rare. In fact, only about 40,000 were ever made!What is a 1943 zinc penny worth? ›
They are worth about 10 to 13 cents each in circulated condition and as much as 50 cents or more if uncirculated.Will a 1944 penny stick to a magnet? ›
If you find a copper 1943 or steel 1944 penny, do two things: Test the coin with a magnet. Real steel coins will stick; coated coins will not.Is there a free app to scan coins for value? ›
CoinSnap is a powerful mobile application that utilizes AI-driven image recognition technology to accurately identify any coin within seconds!Can I take a picture of a coin to find value? ›
Coinoscope mobile app makes coin identification and valuation easy – just snap a picture of a coin with your phone camera and the app will show you a list of similar coins. Fast and accurate. A must-have tool for every coin collector and numismatist!What is the best way to sell coin collection? ›
If you want to sell the collection as quickly as possible, and at competitive rates, your best option may be to sell your collection to a local coin dealer or coin shop. As mentioned above, you should expect to receive a reasonable offer relative to published prices in the “Blue Sheet” or “Blue Book” for U.S. coins.What steel wheat penny is worth a lot of money? ›
One famous 1943 wheat penny coin got auctioned in 2010 at $1.7 million. This error coin is scarce and thus extremely valuable and highly sought.What year steel pennies are worth money? ›
Most steel pennies are worth between 20 cents and 20 dollars. Prices for 1943 penny error coins, like the 1943-D doubled mintmark variety, can reach several hundred dollars. There are few vintage coins as widely collected as the 1943 steel Lincoln penny. This applies within and even beyond the numismatic realm.
How much can I sell my 1943 steel penny for? ›
They are worth about 10 to 13 cents each in circulated condition and as much as 50 cents or more if uncirculated.How do I know if my steel penny is worth anything? ›
The easiest way to determine whether or not your 1943 Cent has collectible value—to see if it is possibly bronze rather than steel—is simply to test it with a magnet. If the coin is magnetic, then it is, unfortunately, the common steel version and is not valuable in most cases.Is a 1943 penny worth a million dollars? ›
Which 1943 copper penny is valuable? The all-time record price for a 1943 bronze cent is $1.7 million. This price was paid for the only known example of a 1943-D copper penny graded MS64BN by Professional Coin Grading Service.How much is a 1944 no mint mark penny worth? ›
As for the 1944 steel cent without a mintmark, it is worth more than $28,000 in average condition. One 1944 steel cent graded in MS64 without a mark sold for $180,000 in an auction in June 2021.How much is a 1943 steel wheat penny worth with no mint mark? ›
How much is a 1943 no mint mark wheat penny worth? A 1943 wheat penny with no mint mark, Philadelphia mint, is the most common of the 1943 pennies and is worth around 15 cents in average condition and up to a few dollars for nongraded coins in fine condition.What are the hardest wheat pennies to find? ›
The most valuable Wheat Penny ever auctioned is a unique 1943-D Bronze Cent, sold for $840,000. Other examples of valuable wheat pennies include the 1909-S VDB Lincoln Wheat Penny, the 1944 Steel Penny, and other variations of the 1943 Bronze Penny.How much can I get for a 1944 steel penny? ›
1944 STEEL Wheat Penny Value
According to the NGC Price Guide, as of March 2023, a Wheat Penny from 1944 in circulated condition is worth between $35000 and $43500.
So far, there are only four MS64 graded 1944 steel pennies in the entire world. The current estimated value for one MS64 coin is $185,000.What makes a 1943 D steel penny valuable? ›
The Rare 1943 Penny
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. But very, very few of these left the U.S. Mint facilities. These error coins were not intentional.
The 1943 steel penny is the only regular American coin that a magnet can pick up. About 40 copper pennies were minted in 1943, when copper blanks were accidentally left in the production hopper.