1943 steel cent

A common question I see is regarding a silver-colored cent. People wonder if they’ve found a valuable rare coin, but the reality is that they are relatively common. An average circulated specimen will sadly not get you on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, although it may be worth enough to buy yourself a piece of 10-cent candy.

The reason the coin was made is that the US needed copper during World War II, so they stopped using it to make the Lincoln cent and used steel to make the cent instead.

Here is a more thorough discussion, along with a tidbit about the much rarer 1943 copper cent. According to the article, a news program incorrectly reported that the 1943 steel cent was rare, when they should have said the 1943 copper cent.

If you think you have an authentic 1943 copper cent, make sure you scrutinize the date (preferable with a loupe). Unscrupulous people out to make a buck have been known to alter 1948 Lincoln cents to make them appear to be 1943. You should also make sure it’s not magnetic. If it is, someone just coated a 1943 steel cent with copper.

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