During World War II, the United States had to conserve copper for the war effort. Copper was in high demand as it was used in ammunition and other military equipment. Because of this, 1943 pennies made from copper are extraordinarily rare and valuable.
All 1943 pennies were supposed to be made of steel and coated in zinc to prevent rusting. However, some copper versions were released by error into the nation’s coin supply. Mints in Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco produced these rare Lincoln pennies.
How much is a copper 1943 penny worth? In average condition, it would be valued at around $60,000. One in mint condition would bring in $85,000.
If you come across a penny with a 1943 date and it’s looks like copper not steel/silver, you’ve hit the jackpot!
Be careful though. Many copper 1943 pennies are fake. The 8 in a 1948 copper penny can be filed down to look like the 3 in 1943. Also, an unscrupulous coin seller could coat a regular steel 1943 penny with copper plating.
Steel is magnetic, but copper is not. You can use a magnet to verify a coin’s metal composition or take it to an authentication service to confirm whether it’s genuine or not.
Want to hear about a 1943 Lincoln cent that’s even rarer? Instead of copper or zinc-coated steel, a one-of-a-kind 1943 penny was incorrectly struck on a bronze coin disc left over from the previous year. After 4 years of negotiations, it was sold to an anonymous buyer in 2010 for $1.7 million. It is the world’s most valuable penny.
So, if you notice a dingy old copper penny, take a look at the date before dropping it into your piggy bank! You never know what it could be worth.