The rare 1943 copper penny

1943 copper pennies are among the most-sought after coins by collectors. In 2010, one of them sold for $1.7 million. Although around $200,000 seems to be what most of them fetch.

The reason for their value is that so few of them exist. In 1943, due to the war, pennies were made out of zinc-coated steel. But somehow approximately 40 copper ones were made by accident.

For several decades the US Mint denied the existence of 1943 copper pennies (see news clipping below). It wasn't until a few showed up, and were authenticated by experts, that the mint changed its tune. Now it states:

Approximately 40 1943 copper–alloy cents are known to remain in existence. Coin experts speculate that they were struck by accident when copper–alloy 1–cent blanks remained in the press hopper when production began on the new steel pennies.

Some strange rumors have circulated about the 1943 copper pennies. Such as that if you found one the Ford motor company would give you a free car. Not true, though if you find one, you could afford to buy quite a few cars. And a few of these pennies are potentially still in circulation.

More info:

Battle Creek Enquirer - Mar 7, 1963

     Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 13, 2020
     Category: Money | Collectors | 1940s

I wonder how many people had one of these pennies in their hand, then upon hearing they were fake, got rid of them. Probably not many, as only 40 were minted.
Posted by Brian on 07/13/20 at 09:15 AM
This was obviously the first rare coin I was told about when I collected them as a kid, probably by the same chum who told me about the 1902 "gold" penny. Beside being in fine condition, the one that went for $1.7 MM also has the "D" mint mark, while the other pictures don't.
I used to live a couple blocks from the old New Orleans mint, which is at the corner of the French Quarter, beyond the French Market. The mint mark was "O"; the New York mint used "N". It's a museum, although I feel sure developers have always eyed it for residential. They would be able to make a 'pretty penny', hah.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 07/13/20 at 02:22 PM
One might have a better chance of finding the larger denomination coins, dimes, quarters, and half dollars, that had a higher silver content (up to 90%) made before the present alloy clad copper base coins. They have a distinctive "ring" when dropped on a hard surface.
Posted by KDP on 07/14/20 at 08:40 AM
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