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. Kurt Allen Locke June 7, 2020 at 12:17 pm

          hi i found mine in michigan back in 1983 we were snowed in and thats what we did is go through pennys my email is kal_31@msn.com not sure how to get it checked but if its value is this high dont want to send it in the mail let me know please thank you kurt locke

          Reply

      2. Same here anyone interested call me at 6614879961

        Reply

        1. I have a 1943 d penny and a 1944 copper penny for sale call me at 682-268-8787

          Reply

          1. We offer FREE auction evaluations at https://www.ha.com/common/acquisitions.php?target=auctionevaluation&type=social-cs-hablog-freeeval-
            092517 . You can also call us at 1-800-872-6467.

          2. We offer FREE auction evaluations at https://www.ha.com/common/acquisitions.php?target=auctionevaluation&type=social-cs-hablog-freeeval-
            092517 . You can also call us at 1-800-872-6467.

      3. Jason Sizemore June 5, 2020 at 10:06 am

        So do I my friend, so do I. Wish they would let me put a pic up on here to show you

        Reply

    2. My name is Natasha Johnson I have 16 one cent penny one is very unique I have pictures of all of them 1943 1952 1950 1955 1941 1957 1956 1944 1954 1945 1958 1940 1951

      Reply

      1. Natasha,

        Thank you for your comment. If you are interested in learning more about your items, 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

        Reply

    3. My name is Natasha Johnson I live in greenwood Ms and I have 16 one cent penny and one is very unique

      Reply

    4. I have 1943 steel and 1943s wheat steel

      Reply

      1. Gary, If you are interested in learning more about your items, 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

        Reply

    5. I have a 1943 ghost penny for sale.

      Reply

      1. If you are interested in learning more about your items, 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

        Reply

      2. This is Kasper I have the 43 ghost penny the four is missing. It does not stick to a magnet and on his way back I’m pretty sure it’s a ghost thing I also have a 1928 silver dollar.I’ve looked at it and looked at the one that showing for like thirty thousand and I’m pretty sure it’s that one the US plus I have to 1972 silver dollars which devalues pretty high on them I’m sure I looked. I’m really interested in selling them like really soon email me or text me back on here. I have a lot of older things to antiques and Peyton Dantament. A lot more I can’t I’m going to take the best offer there is on this 1928 silver dollar even got a extra ring that goes around it for liking necklace back in them days. Let me see what offers I get.

        Reply

        1. To see how much your item is worth, visit https://www.ha.com/common/acquisitions.php?target=auctionevaluation&type=social-cs-hablogfreeeval-
          092517 . You can also call us at 1-800-872-6467.

          Reply

    6. Russell J. Prudhomme September 7, 2020 at 10:08 pm

      I have 4 1943 bronze coins. How do i go about having looked researched?

      Reply

      1. Russell,

        We offer FREE auction evaluations at https://www.ha.com/common/acquisitions.php?target=auctionevaluation&type=social-cs-hablog-freeeval-
        092517 . You can also call us at 1-800-872-6467.

        Reply

    7. I have a 1943 D steel wheat penny and I put a magnet on it it picks up from the edges even when I lay it flat it flips around to the edges like the middle is not magnetic

      Reply

    8. Hello I have wheat penny Lincoln memorial 2009 1962 ….contact me xxxxxxxxx.

      Reply

      1. Jorge,

        For a FREE auction evaluation, visit https://www.ha.com/common/acquisitions.php?target=auctionevaluation&type=social-cs-hablog-freeeval-
        092517. You can also call us at 1-800-872-6467.

        Reply

    9. I got a 1943 s white penny email me baldysir@gmail.com

      Reply

      1. To see how much your item is worth, visit https://www.ha.com/common/acquisitions.php?target=auctionevaluation&type=social-cs-hablogfreeeval-
        092517 . You can also call us at 1-800-872-6467.

        Reply

    10. Today I looked at my coin collection I have a roll of 1943 copper pennies I also have a roll of 1943 steel pennies I guess I’ll go home and try to figure out which ones are valuable could you give me some more information please

      Reply

    11. I have a 1956d copper penny is it worth anything

      Reply

      1. https://coins.ha.com/ref/beginners-price-guide.zx Thank you for contacting us. Please consult our coin value guide or simply upload images to request an auction estimate.

        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

    2. you have the 1943 copper penny?

      Reply

      1. Cory, Thank you for your comment! We have auctioned different variations of the ’43 penny on our website. You are free to view our archives online at Ha.com.

        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

  17. José Luis Zavala December 24, 2019 at 9:57 am

    Hola mi nombre es José creo tener una moneda que necesita ser analizada por un esperto ya que no esta en buenas condiciones pero se logra ver el 1943 y no se pega al magnet mi pregunta es quien podría evaluarla y a donde la puedo llevar?

    Reply

    1. Jose,

      Nos gustaría obtener más información sobre su artículo y fotografías. Si está interesado en obtener más información sobre sus artículos, está interesado en vender o desea recibir una evaluación de subasta gratuita, por favor:
      – Envíe una evaluación de subasta gratuita: https://www.ha.com/common/acquisitions.php?target=auctionevaluation&type=social-cs-Facebookfreeeval-092517

      Reply

  18. Hola mi nombre es Everardo yo tengo 4 monedas de un centavo de 1943 y 5 de 1944 me gustaría las revisará más a fondo para ver si tienen valor gracias

    Reply

    1. Everardo,

      Nos gustaría obtener más información sobre su artículo y fotografías. Si está interesado en obtener más información sobre sus artículos, está interesado en vender o desea recibir una evaluación de subasta gratuita, por favor:
      – Envíe una evaluación de subasta gratuita: https://www.ha.com/common/acquisitions.php?target=auctionevaluation&type=social-cs-Facebookfreeeval-092517

      Reply

  19. Ernesto P.Castroverde January 8, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    Hi i have 10 cents penny.1945s.1981.1982

    Reply

    1. Ernesto,

      If you are interested in learning more about your items, 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

      Reply

  20. Hello I found a 1943d steel penny
    It is magnetic and silver plated
    Is it valuable.

    Reply

    1. Luisa,

      Thank you for reaching out. If you are interested in learning more about your items, 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

      Reply

  21. I have a very curious 1943 steel wheat penny. It appears to have some rust, but above the date it looks like a symbol above the four and a number six above the three. I can’t tell if it’s just an anomaly due to the rust and condition of the coin, or if it’s something actually there, or was there.
    Just wondering if anybody has ever noticed anything like this?

    Reply

    1. Rick,

      Thank you for reaching out. If you are interested in learning more about your coin, please submit a free auction evaluation at https://www.ha.com/common/acquisitions.php?target=auctionevaluation&type=social-cs-Facebookfreeeval-092517

      Reply

  22. Hi my name is Jerry and I have one of these coins I don’t know if its worth anything took to a coin store an I feel there is a value to the coin

    Reply

    1. Jessica,

      Thank you for your comment. If you are interested in learning more about your items, 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

      Reply

  23. Yvonne,

    I have a 1943. I would like to know the value.

    Reply

    1. Yvonne,

      If you are interested in learning more about your items, 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

      Reply

  24. Yvonne,

    I have a 1943. I would like to know the value.

    Reply

    1. CSSocialMedia May 13, 2020 at 10:27 am

      To see how much your item is worth, visit https://www.ha.com/common/acquisitions.php?target=auctionevaluation&type=social-cs-hablogfreeeval-
      092517 . You can also call us at 1-800-872-6467.

      Reply

  25. Quadrick Jones June 23, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    I have a1943.

    Reply

    1. CSSocialMedia June 24, 2020 at 4:26 pm

      To see how much your item is worth, visit https://www.ha.com/common/acquisitions.php?target=auctionevaluation&type=social-cs-hablogfreeeval-
      092517 . You can also call us at 1-800-872-6467.

      Reply

  26. Cassie Jensen July 12, 2020 at 8:08 pm

    I have (3) 1943-D pennies
    (1) 1943-S and (7) 1943
    All steel no double mint marks that i can see.

    Reply

    1. CSSocialMedia July 13, 2020 at 2:24 pm

      Cassie,

      To see how much your item is worth, visit https://www.ha.com/common/acquisitions.php?target=auctionevaluation&type=social-cs-hablogfreeeval-
      092517 . You can also call us at 1-800-872-6467.

      Reply

  27. I have about 25 1943 steel pennies. I checked all of them with a strong magnet. I had 1 that would not stick. What would be my next step to verify it?

    Reply

  28. I have collected wheat pennies since I was a kid over 40 years of coming across one and just adding it to a jar. Never really paid attention to the year. Recently I started sorting them by year. I came across one today that is a 1943 as far as I can tell it’s. I took a picture of it next to one of my steel 1943 after I tested it with a magnet I realized it was not magnet

    Reply

    1. https://coins.ha.com/ref/beginners-price-guide.zx Thanks, and please consult our coin value guide or simply upload images to request an auction estimate.

      Reply

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