1943 Copper Cents and 1944 Steel Cents
In the early 1940's copper shortages
forced the U.S. Mint into seeking
alternative materials for U.S. Cents.  shells
for World War 2, and the Mint decided on
using zinc coated steel planchets for cents.
 Steel cents were in production for one
year only, 1943.

1943 Steel Lincoln Cents continue to be of
interest to Lincoln Cent Collectors.  They
hold a small premium over other common
Wheat Cents.

Of even greater interest, and mystery are
the 1943 Cents that were struck on Copper
Planchets and 1944 Cents that were struck
on Steel Planchets.

The 1943 "copper" cents are actually
struck on Brass Planchets, an alloy of
copper and zinc.  Despite this fact, they
are often called "1943 copper cents" or
"1943 bronze cents".

1944 Steel Lincoln cents, on the other
hand, some experts feel are struck on
foreign planchets very similar to the
zinc-coated steel planchets used in 1943.  
The existence of Denver Specimens and a
single San Francisco specimen contradicts
this argument because all foreign coins are
struck at the Philadelphia Mint.  No one
can say for sure how they came into
existence.  

If you find a 1943 Lincoln cent that
appears to be a "copper" cent, don't get
too excited.  Many "fakes" exist.  They are
simply copper plated steel cents using
electroplating.  Steel cents will stick to a
magnet.  If you find a 1943 "copper" cent
that does
not stick to a magnet...get
excited!   

Here is the current estimated populations
for each variety:

1943 Copper  (14 known)
1943 D Copper  (1 known)
1943 S Copper  (6 known)
1944 Steel (27 known)
1944 D Steel  (7 known)
1944 S Steel  (1 known)

Images courtesy of Heritage Auction
Galleries