The 1943 copper penny value is one of America’s most charming collectible coins. This article will walk you through this item’s fascinating background and journey, which resulted in an expansive and exceptional item that can leave even the less experienced collectors dying to lay their hands on it.
1943 Copper Penny [Guide 2024]
The 1943 copper cent, or 1943 copper penny, is part of a group of production wheat money, or Lincoln cents, minted from 1909 to 1958. The designation comes from the reverse design showing decorative wheat branches.
Victor David Brenner, a New Yorker sculptor, designed them and they were minted to celebrate President Lincoln’s birthday.
As presented below, you can see the rare coin showing the image of President Lincoln (which would explain the term “Lincoln cents”) and the date of mintage on the right while the word “LIBERTY” can be seen on the left.
The reverse of the coin has two sprigs of wheat and the phrase “ONE CENT.” Below it you can see the inscription “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” At the top of the coin is the Latin phrase “E PLURIBUS UNUM”, which means “One of many” in English.
During World War II, the United States Mint began salvaging copper from currency production to be used for munitions and other military purposes. Because of that, many of the earlier copper-produced US coins were replaced with zinc-plated steel in 1943.
1943 Copper Penny Value
However, at the Philadelphia Mint and the San Francisco Mint, some copper coins were still mistakenly struck on copper plates. So 1943 copper pennies are rare high value coins because in theory they shouldn’t even exist.
1943 Copper Penny Value Chart
This 1943 Copper Penny Value chart data was taken on 13/02/2024. Remember that these prices are change because in the changing of economic times
|Mint State (MS)
|$100,000 – $250,000
|$1.7 million (unique specimen)
|Extremely Fine (XF)
|$50,000 – $100,000
|$500,000 – $1 million
|$10,000 – $50,000
|$100,000 – $500,000
|Very Good (VG)
|$5,000 – $10,000
|$50,000 – $100,000
|$1,000 – $5,000
|$10,000 – $50,000
|About Good (AG)
|$100 – $1,000
|$1,000 – $10,000
Originally these crowns were alloy cents made of 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc, but the composition changed in 1943 to zinc-plated steel. These new steel pennies caused some confusion at the time, and they still do today because the penny is often confused with dimes.
In fact, many people thought the 1943 Steel Cents were actual silver coins because of their silvery color, they are sometimes called the “silver penny”.
After only one mintage of the zinc-plated steel pennies and overwhelming disapproval, the US Mint reintroduced the copper alloy in 1944. But the transition error, in other words, misuse of copper plates in 1943, resulted in some of the rarest United States coins in American history that can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Interestingly, in 1944 some remaining steel blanks from 1943 were used, resulting in the also rare and valuable 1944 Steel Cent.
How many copper pennies from 1943 have been found?
There are approximately 40 genuine copper coins known to exist and in collector’s hands. They were accidentally struck on copper planchets left on the die when all the 1943 pennies were struck on steel blanks that year.
These are one of the rarest false mints in existence, and because of that, the rare copper version tends to be counterfeited a lot and can easily fool a less experienced eye.
The unique 1943-D Copper Penny
This remarkable coin is the only piece made in bronze by a Denver Mint employee. The design of this bronze coin is stronger than the others because it is believed that the employee in question hand-fed the bronze plank into the coin press and struck it twice to enhance the designs, making it a unique and distinct piece due to its history. .
A possible reason for the existence of this bronze coin is that the employee must have kept it a secret for many years, but when he died, his child took it with him for inspection, which was confirmed to be genuine. This coin is graded MS64BN by PCGS and recently sold, in January 2021, for $840,000 at Heritage Auctions.
How much are 1943 copper pennies worth?
Not all treasures are made of gold. The 1943 copper penny is valuable due to its rarity, but like all coins, its value depends on its condition and luster. So you have to consider that if the penny is in average condition, that is, a piece with circulation marks and minor to minor bruising, its value may be reduced compared to a mint condition Lincoln cent, which is usually an uncirculated penny, nearly new .
Here is a price list of all variants of the 1943 Copper Cent according to the PCGS Price Guide :
1943 Copper Cent from the Philadelphia Mint (no mint mark)
There are 10 to 15 known specimens of this variety, graded MS45 to MS62. The lowest ranked is valued at around $215,000 and the highest is at $435,000 if brown. There is one known specimen graded MS63 still showing most of its original reddish color that is priced at $1,000,000!
1943-D Copper Cent
This unique piece is a certified MS64 by PCGS and is valued at $1,050,000.
1943-S Copper Cent
There are 5 known copper pennies from 1943 that bear the “S” mintmark for the San Francisco Mint. The lowest grade is an MS30 coin, valued at $145,000; the highest grade is an MS63, also priced at $1,000,000.
Check out our list of the most valuable pennies in US history!
Known 1943 Copper Pennies Counterfeits
A fake coin is ultimately a fake. The purpose of most counterfeit old currency coins is to trick people into buying replicas for the price of rare coins. Considering that the market for collectible coins is responsible for making a lot of money for dealers, there is a risk of encountering fake pieces that are remarkably similar to the real ones.
Some steel pennies from 1943 were coated with copper and sold as real copper pens. These are easily identifiable as you can just check if it sticks to a magnet (steel is magnetic, copper is not). Another common forgery is done by discarding the left half of the number “8” in the 1948 copper cent, so that it looks like the number 3.
Some Chinese 1943 Lincoln pennies forgeries are particularly challenging as they are made from copper plates and will not stick to a magnet. They can only be discovered by experienced specialists, from numismatics to third-party grading services.
How do you identify if a 1943 copper penny is fake?
There are a few ways to tell if you have a genuine 1943 copper penny in your pocket.
- First, you can see if the coin sticks to a magnet. Since steel is magnetic and copper is not, if it sticks to the magnet, it means it is fake. And it is probably a steel coin from 1943 coated with copper. However, the real copper version will not respond to a magnet;
- You can also use a digital scale to separate steel money from copper. Regular 1943 steel cents weigh about 2.7 grams, while the copper version weighs about 3.1 grams;
- Since there is always a possibility that a 1948 penny will be altered to look like a rare penny, check if the number 3 on the inscription looks legitimate. You can even use a legit 1943 Steel Penny to compare and it should look the same, not half a number 8;
- Chinese counterfeits are made from copper plates, will not stick to a magnet, and will have a design identical to a rare 1943 penny. But it can still be identified by a numismatic specialist or third-party grading services.
It is challenging to tell if a coin is fake as counterfeiting techniques improve over time and can fool even experts. There are a few ways to protect yourself from wasting precious time and money. If you happen to come across one of these precious coins, consider investing some money to have it graded and certified. You can reach out to the American Numismatic Association or these other few reliable grading companies:
- Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS)
- Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC)
- Independent Coin Graders (ICG)
The copper penny from 1943 is one of the most highly valued copper coins with collector cents out there. The history is fascinating, which explains why there are many copies and fakes trying to trick and mislead inexperienced collectors.
Even if you’re not lucky enough to come across one of these in your pocket, just having one in your collection will make you feel like you’ve found the copper treasure at the end of the rainbow!
I am an avid numismatist with a deep passion for the intricate world of coin collecting, particularly in the realm of rare and valuable coins. My extensive knowledge comes from years of hands-on experience, studying historical records, and engaging with fellow enthusiasts and experts in the field. Allow me to provide you with a comprehensive exploration of the concepts discussed in the article about the 1943 copper penny.
1. Background of the 1943 Copper Penny:
- The 1943 copper penny is a captivating collectible coin with a unique history. It belongs to a series of wheat pennies or Lincoln cents minted from 1909 to 1958, designed by sculptor Victor David Brenner to commemorate President Lincoln’s birthday.
2. Composition and Change in 1943:
- During World War II, copper was conserved for military use, leading to the replacement of copper coins with zinc-coated steel in 1943. However, some copper pennies were mistakenly struck at the Philadelphia Mint and San Francisco Mint, resulting in extremely rare and valuable coins.
- The original composition of pennies in 1943 was 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc. The transition to zinc-plated steel caused confusion, with the steel pennies being mistaken for silver coins due to their color.
3. Rarity and Value:
- Approximately 40 genuine 1943 copper pennies are known to exist, making them among the rarest error penny coins. Due to their scarcity, they are often counterfeited, posing a challenge for collectors, especially those less experienced.
- The 1943-D Copper Penny, made of bronze at the Denver Mint, is a unique piece with enhanced designs, and one such coin recently sold for $840,000 in January 2021.
4. Pricing and Variations:
- The value of 1943 copper pennies depends on their condition and luster. The PCGS Price Guide provides a breakdown of the values for different variations, such as those from the Philadelphia Mint (no mint mark), the Denver Mint (1943-D), and the San Francisco Mint (1943-S).
5. Counterfeits and Identification:
- Counterfeits of 1943 copper pennies exist, including steel pennies coated in copper. A simple test involving a magnet can distinguish between genuine copper and fake coins.
- Other counterfeiting methods involve altering the number “8” in 1948 copper cents to resemble a 3. Chinese counterfeits are made from copper planchets and require expertise or third-party grading services for identification.
6. Authentication and Grading Services:
- To ensure the authenticity of a 1943 copper penny, collectors are advised to use reputable grading services such as Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), and Independent Coin Graders (ICG). Authentication helps protect collectors from replicas and counterfeits.
In conclusion, the 1943 copper penny stands as a valuable and historically significant coin, with its rarity and the challenges posed by counterfeits adding to its allure in the world of numismatics.
What is a 1943 copper penny worth today?
Value: It depends! Common ones are worth $0.10-$1, but rare varieties can be worth hundreds of thousands due to minting errors or unique features.
How many copper 1943 pennies have been found?
Found: Millions minted, exact number unknown.
What are the odds of finding a 1943 copper penny?
Odds: Very low, but not impossible to find in circulation.
How do I know if my 1943 penny is rare?
Rarity: Check for mint errors, die cracks, unique markings. Consult a professional for accurate identification.
How much is a 1943 copper penny worth?
Worth: See “Value” above. Remember, condition and variety are key!