Rare 1943 Penny Sells for Six Figures: How To Tell If You Have One Too

Did you see the famous 1943 Bronze Discovery Cent, found by a teenager in the 1940s, in the news recently?

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Perhaps you noticed this on television, online, or even heard about it on the radio. Heritage Auctions sold this piece recently for $204,000 in January 2019, which resulted in significant excitement from collectors and the public alike.

1943 Bronze Lincoln Cent, AU53 Legendary Off-Metal Planchet Error The Discovery Coin

1943 Bronze Lincoln Cent, AU53
Legendary Off-Metal Planchet Error
The Discovery Coin
Sold for: $204,000.00

Such exciting news always results in a flurry of hopeful people scouring their change, hoping to find the winning coin. If you would like to know how to tell if your 1943 Cent is valuable, gather your change jar, and let’s begin.

Before we go into how to authenticate your 1943 Bronze Cent, it is important to know about the two types of Lincoln Cents minted that year. During World War II, a major copper shortage occurred. The US Mint responded by using zinc-coated steel to produce cents for change. Not only was the composition changed to a whitish-colored metal for just one year, but enormous quantities were produced! The San Francisco Mint minted 191,550,000 coins, Denver made 217,660,000, and Philadelphia produced 84,628,670. As you might notice from these figures, 1943 steel cents, in general, are very, very common.

While the steel version is so easy to locate, it is the bronze version which became rare when it was produced in error. While there was no official record of any copper (bronze) cents being made that year, a few were accidentally struck when some remaining coin blanks from the prior year remained in the bins at the Mint alongside the new steel planchets. Approximately 10 to 20 pieces are believed to exist today, making these pieces both rare and valuable to collectors.

The easiest way to determine whether or not your 1943 Cent has collectible value—to see if it is possibly bronze rather than steel—is simply to test it with a magnet. If the coin is magnetic, then it is, unfortunately, the common steel version and is not valuable in most cases.

However, if your 1943 Cent does NOT stick to a magnet, this coin may possibly be genuine and should be researched further. While not sticking to a magnet is a very good sign, unfortunately, this is not a guarantee that the 1943-dated piece is a genuine bronze example from that year. Over the years, many tricksters and counterfeiters have either created entirely fake pieces or have altered the dates of other cents—such as engraving a 1948 to look like a 1943—in order to fool collectors.

The best thing to do if you feel confident that your coin has an unaltered date and is not magnetic would be to send clear and detailed images to our coin experts here at Heritage for review. We may suggest having the coin authenticated by a grading service, such as PCGS or NGC, to determine the coin’s authenticity for certain.

While finding a genuine 1943 Bronze Cent is a rare case, some collectors over the years have been lucky! Even if you do not have success, you may have fun and learn something in the process. Keep up the search, and let us know if you find something promising.

Posted by Sarah Miller

Director of Numismatics, New York

    1. Hello out there i have a 1943 wheat penny that i have for sale..will sell to highest bidder..you can email me at
      rodtoorod@gmail.com if interested

      Reply

      1. Roderick,

        Thank you for your message. If you are interested in consignment, please email front and back images to Coins@HA.com. A Specialist will review and contact you to discuss.

        Reply

  1. Patricia Bernard February 5, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    I have 3 1943 penny, how can I tell if I have the right one.

    Reply

    1. Hi Patricia,
      Thank you for your comment! if you are interested in learning more about your coins, interested in selling, or would like to receive a free auction evaluation, please:
      – Submit a free auction evaluation: https://www.ha.com/common/acquisitions.php?target=auctionevaluation&type=social-cs-Facebookfreeeval-
      092517
      – Or email our expert Bob Marino directly: bobmarino@ha.com
      Thank you,
      Heritage Auctions

      Reply

      1. Hi my name is jeanenejones . I live in alabama.I have some coins that need to be graded.I tested them myself.could you all give me a call.my number is 256-493-3049 .thanks have a bless day.

        Reply

        1. Jeanene,

          Thank you for your message. If you are interested in consignment, please email front and back images to Coins@HA.com. A Specialist will review and contact you to discuss.

          Reply

        2. Hi my name is Cisco. I live in Myanmar. I have 10 Lincoln Steel Coin certified at PCGS. These coins are my father coin. He is so crazy about collect many many coin. So, how much pay for my coins. I am waiting for your reply.

          Reply

          1. Hello Cisco,

            Thank you for your message. If you are interested in consignment, please email front and back images to Coins@HA.com. A Specialist will review and contact you to discuss.

  2. […] Lincoln Centavo que un adolescente de Massachusetts encontró en su cambio de dinero del almuerzo vendido por $ […]

    Reply

    1. CSSocialMedia March 1, 2019 at 2:53 pm

      Gracias por tu mensaje. Si está interesado en vender, envíe por correo electrónico las imágenes de la parte delantera y trasera a Coins@HA.com. Un especialista lo revisará y se pondrá en contacto con usted para discutirlo.

      Reply

  3. Patricia S. Graham March 21, 2019 at 8:40 am

    I have a 1943D wheat penny, and a Indian head wheat penny that I would like to sell.

    Reply

    1. Hi Patricia, Thank you for your message. If you are interested in selling, please email front and back images to Coins@HA.com. A Specialist will review and contact you to discuss.

      Reply

  4. I have 10 penny 1943 steel cent and i am grading at PCGS.

    Reply

    1. Hello, thank you for sharing this with us, if you are ever interested in selling, please feel free to reach out to us at Coins@Ha.com

      Reply

  5. I have a coin similar like this but it’s year was 1972 . it’s worth??

    Reply

    1. CSSocialMedia April 8, 2019 at 1:53 pm

      Hello, Thank you for your comment. Please forward details about your collection, along with the image to Coins@HA.com. A Specialist will review and contact you to discuss.

      Reply

  6. I have 1 cent was 1944

    Reply

    1. Thank you for your message. If you are interested in selling, please email front and back images to Coins@HA.com. A Specialist will review and contact you to discuss.

      Reply

      1. I have one cent 1948 s wheat penny, 1942 wheat penny, 3 of 1966 memorial, 3 of 1969 s Lincoln memorial, 1955 wheat penny, 1955 d wheat penny, 1970 d Lincoln memorial, 3 1959 d Lincoln memorial, 1956 d wheat penny, 1977 d Lincoln memorial, 20 of 1972, 1953 no mint mark wheat penny, 1951 d wheat penny, five cent 1952 no mint mark. Please let me know if you are interested in anyone of them so I can send them to you.

        Reply

        1. Hello,

          Thank you for your message. If you are interested in selling, please email front and back images to Coins@HA.com. A Specialist will review and contact you to discuss.

          Reply

  7. 1943 copper penny if you guys want i will sell. let me know. best way to text me by email. Thank you.

    Reply

    1. CSSocialMedia May 21, 2019 at 9:08 am

      Hi Deo,

      Please forward details about your collection, along with the image to Coins@HA.com. A Specialist will review and contact you to discuss.

      Reply

  8. Mira tengo monedas de uno cents de 1927 1929 1940 1944 1947 1953 1955 1979 con un gradé error y lade 1953

    Reply

    1. CSSocialMedia June 3, 2019 at 10:51 am

      Luis,
      Gracias por tu mensaje. Si está interesado en vender, envíe por correo electrónico las imágenes de la parte frontal y posterior a Coins@HA.com. Un especialista lo revisará y se pondrá en contacto con usted para discutirlo.

      Reply

  9. Tengo monedas 1917asta 1953 19551929 1940

    Reply

    1. CSSocialMedia June 3, 2019 at 10:51 am

      Luis, Gracias por tu mensaje. Si está interesado en vender, envíe por correo electrónico las imágenes de la parte frontal y posterior a Coins@HA.com. Un especialista lo revisará y se pondrá en contacto con usted para discutirlo.

      Reply

  10. Si les mando las fotos para vender

    Reply

  11. I have a 1983 P nickel with very strong doubling of letters in “in god we trust, 1983 and mm P”. There is also a cud in Jefferson collar. On the back is a strong doubling letters of “of America”. And the “ICE” of Monticello is missing. Is this worth anything?

    Reply

    1. CSSocialMedia June 14, 2019 at 8:43 am

      Hi Gerald, Thank you for sharing this with us. If you are interested in learning more about your coin, please email front and back images to Coins@HA.com. A Specialist will review and contact you to discuss.

      Reply

  12. Camilla Samario August 1, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    My fiance has found a 1943 copper wheat penny no mintmark does not stick to magnet and it does not look altered. It not in mint state but is in very good condition what does he do since he is no member of the company’s that grade them?

    Reply

    1. Hello Camilla,

      Thank you for your comment and question. If your faience is interested in learning more about the coin and would like to receive free auction evaluation, please email front and back images to Coins@HA.com. A Specialist will review and contact him to discuss.

      Reply

  13. I have a 1943 penny it looks silver, but doesn’t stick to metal like me other 1943 does

    Reply

    1. Gary,

      Thank you for your message. If you are interested in consignment, please email front and back images to Coins@HA.com. A Specialist will review and contact you to discuss.

      Reply

  14. My name Irvan form Indonesia.
    I have a Penny 1943D, 1943S and 1943 bronze..i need real colector to buy my coin.

    Reply

    1. Hello,

      Thank you for your message. If you are interested in consignment or learning more about your items and would like to receive a free auction evaluation, please:
      – Submit a free auction evaluation: https://www.ha.com/common/acquisitions.php?target=auctionevaluation&type=social-cs-Facebookfreeeval-092517

      Or email us directly at bid@ha.com .

      Thank you,
      Heritage Auctions

      Reply

  15. Paulava T. Malala October 10, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    Hi my name is Paulava T. Malala, I’m from Pago Pago, American Samoa, I have pennies that I want to sell, please contact me at my house phone 16846332161 or my cell 16842723969 thank you for your time.

    Reply

    1. Thank you for your message. If you are interested in consignment, please email front and back images to Coins@HA.com. A Specialist will review and contact you to discuss.

      Reply

  16. I have a 1943 steel penny, a 1936/1930 copper penny and i was wondering where i can sell them at?

    Reply

    1. Please send photos and description to us via this page: https://coins.ha.com/free-appraisals.s
      Thanks!

      Reply

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