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Old 01-29-2010, 08:44 PM
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What's the significance of 1943 pennies?

Coinstar rejects them.
Old 01-29-2010, 08:48 PM
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They're steel coins. The reason is that copper was needed for bullet cases and other uses during the war, while steel, though also needed, was in somewhat more plentiful supply relative to demand, so cents were struck in steel.
Old 01-29-2010, 08:49 PM
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They're made of steel, right? So the weight/magnetism are all wrong.
Old 01-29-2010, 08:51 PM
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From Wikipedia
Quote:
The 1943 steel cent, also known as a steelie, was a variety of the U.S. one-cent coin which was struck in steel due to wartime shortages of copper.

Edit: At least I put a link in there.

Last edited by AdmiralCrunch; 01-29-2010 at 08:52 PM.
Old 01-29-2010, 08:51 PM
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During WWII, copper was a desperatey needed metal, used both for electrical wiring and ammunition casings. At a point where extended mining had not yet caught up with demand, the Treasury switched from using copper to steel to coin the penny. Because steel has a diiferent weight than copper, machines designed to test the weight of a coin to accept it find that the penny has the "wrong" weight.
Old 01-29-2010, 08:51 PM
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The steel pennies do have a slight collectors value, especially by the roll.
Old 01-29-2010, 09:17 PM
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But watch out for scams. There were a handful of copper pennies minted in 1943 and they're worth a lot of money. Some conmen have taken steel 1943 pennies and copper-plated them to fool buyers.
Old 01-29-2010, 10:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
But watch out for scams. There were a handful of copper pennies minted in 1943 and they're worth a lot of money. Some conmen have taken steel 1943 pennies and copper-plated them to fool buyers.
Easily checked with a magnet. A bit harder is a modified 1948 penny.
Old 01-30-2010, 12:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomndebb View Post
During WWII, copper was a desperatey needed metal, used both for electrical wiring and ammunition casings. At a point where extended mining had not yet caught up with demand, the Treasury switched from using copper to steel to coin the penny. Because steel has a diiferent weight than copper, machines designed to test the weight of a coin to accept it find that the penny has the "wrong" weight.
Copper was so scarce that when the Manhattan project needed some fourteen thousand tons of metal to make the windings for the Calutrons (Cyclotrons for the refining of U-235 by Mass Spectrometry), they used Silver borrowed from the Treasury and accounted for by the ounce.

Last edited by beowulff; 01-30-2010 at 12:20 AM.
Old 01-30-2010, 02:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
But watch out for scams. There were a handful of copper pennies minted in 1943 and they're worth a lot of money. Some conmen have taken steel 1943 pennies and copper-plated them to fool buyers.
Any idea of the number of these out there? I was always told that there were no 1943 copper pennies, but it wouldn't surprise me if there were.

Also, when did they go back to copper? at the beginning of the 1944 printing cycle, or are there some steelies for '44?
Old 01-30-2010, 02:24 AM
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Copper pennies from 1943 are so rare that anyone offering you one is probably offering a forgery, knowingly or not. http://usmint.gov/about_the_mint...on=fun_facts2a The estimate is that only 40 were made, and all are accounted for.
Old 01-30-2010, 04:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
Copper was so scarce that when the Manhattan project needed some fourteen thousand tons of metal to make the windings for the Calutrons (Cyclotrons for the refining of U-235 by Mass Spectrometry), they used Silver borrowed from the Treasury and accounted for by the ounce.
Why didn't they just melt down some 1942 pennies?
Old 01-30-2010, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
Copper was so scarce that when the Manhattan project needed some fourteen thousand tons of metal to make the windings for the Calutrons (Cyclotrons for the refining of U-235 by Mass Spectrometry), they used Silver borrowed from the Treasury and accounted for by the ounce.
I love this story. The snooty reply from the Treasury was "Silver is never measured in tons; our unit is the Troy ounce"

So they asked for and recieved 395,000,000 Troy ounces of silver
Old 01-30-2010, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Shalmanese View Post
Why didn't they just melt down some 1942 pennies?
Someone who knows for sure will probably come along, but my WAG is: Silver makes great wire (better than copper), but lousy shell casings. Any pennies that got melted down went into making brass for ammo.
Old 01-30-2010, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
The steel pennies do have a slight collectors value, especially by the roll.
Last time I checked, a brilliant uncirculated (BU, or MS-65) 1943 penny was worth about $6.00. I have one here somewhere that I found in a roll of worthless wheat pennies.
Old 01-30-2010, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by The Second Stone View Post
Copper pennies from 1943 are so rare that anyone offering you one is probably offering a forgery, knowingly or not. http://usmint.gov/about_the_mint...on=fun_facts2a The estimate is that only 40 were made, and all are accounted for.
When I was a kid, we carefully scanned every penny we came across looking for a 1943 copper one. Ah, the dream!
Old 01-30-2010, 12:03 PM
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Try to find a 1913 V nickel instead, there are only 5 of them.
Old 01-30-2010, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
Last time I checked, a brilliant uncirculated (BU, or MS-65) 1943 penny was worth about $6.00. I have one here somewhere that I found in a roll of worthless wheat pennies.
OK, but that quality is hard to find. How much for a Good?
Old 01-30-2010, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Stink Fish Pot View Post
Any idea of the number of these out there? I was always told that there were no 1943 copper pennies, but it wouldn't surprise me if there were.

Also, when did they go back to copper? at the beginning of the 1944 printing cycle, or are there some steelies for '44?
The fourth paragraph here talks about going back to copper, using spent shell casings as part of the mix. Also, reading a little further, apparently there are a few steel 1944 cents. I hadn't known that before.
Old 01-30-2010, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
Last time I checked, a brilliant uncirculated (BU, or MS-65) 1943 penny was worth about $6.00. I have one here somewhere that I found in a roll of worthless wheat pennies.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
OK, but that quality is hard to find. How much for a Good?
We probably buy a thousand steel cents every week in our coin shop. Average condition we pay 5-10 cents each, sell for 20 cents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenBeam View Post
The fourth paragraph here talks about going back to copper, using spent shell casings as part of the mix. Also, reading a little further, apparently there are a few steel 1944 cents. I hadn't known that before.
Since they were first discovered, there have been about 40 pieces of the 1943 copper cents turn up in varying condition. No one knows how many were made as they were made accidently.

For the 1944 steel cents, I believe there have only been less than five found. All made by accident with left over steel planchets.
Old 01-30-2010, 06:36 PM
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Try to find a 1913 V nickel instead, there are only 5 of them.
I think the main appeal of the '43 coppers is that they superficially look like perfectly ordinary coins (well, they'd be wheaties, but other than that), so it's plausible to hope that there might be a few still in circulation. The 1913 V nickel, though, doesn't look anything like any current coin, so they're probably all in collections or destroyed already. At best, you might hope that one is in the stash of an amateur sporadic collector who doesn't know what they have, but you'll never get one in change from the store.
Old 01-30-2010, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
We probably buy a thousand steel cents every week in our coin shop. Average condition we pay 5-10 cents each, sell for 20 cents.
Wow, those took a dive. For some reason I still have my 2000 Krause World Coins book, which lists the 1943D MS-65 at $8.50. However the 2008 Blue Book shows it at $1.25.
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