1943 Steel Penny Value

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Contributor, Benzinga
June 19, 2024

The 1943 Steel Penny is one of the most unique American coins ever minted, and its fascinating history and rarity have made it a highly sought-after collector's item. These coins can be worth much more than their face value depending on their condition and rarity. This article will take you through the process of determining the rough value of your 1943 steel penny or where to buy them if you're interested in owning a piece of American history.

1943 Steel Penny Value

Most 1943 Steel pennies are worth just a few cents in average condition because more than 1 billion were minted for circulation. However, uncirculated specimens can fetch a few dollars and some steel pennies in mint condition or with rare marks or errors can be worth significantly more. Keep reading to figure out if you have one of these rare outlier coins.


In general, a steel penny in average condition is valued at 10 to 25 cents. An uncirculated coin can fetch between $1 and $5. However, 1943 pennies in exceptional condition (graded MS 67 or above) command significantly higher prices:

  • MS 67: $200 - $285
  • MS 68: $3,100 - $5,000
  • MS 68+: $15,500 - $35,000

The History of 1943 Steel Pennies

During World War II, the United States needed to conserve copper for the production of shell casings and munitions, which led to the decision to mint pennies from zinc-coated steel instead. The 1943 steel penny was first and last minted in that year, with over a billion coins struck. Despite being initially disliked by the public because of their tendency to quickly lose their zinc coating and then rust, they have become popular collector's items as their unique history sets them apart from other coins.

How to Estimate the Value of a 1943 Steel Penny

Determining the value of your 1943 Steel penny involves examining several key factors that can significantly impact its worth. The first step is to inspect the coin's condition, as this factor plays a major role in its value. Look for signs of wear like scratches, dents or discoloration and take notice if the coin’s luster is still present. Coins in the best condition can be considerably more valuable than those with visible signs of heavy use.

Next, pay attention to the mint marks found on your steel penny. Mint marks indicate the specific U.S. Mint that produced the coin and can help establish its rarity. On the 1943 steel penny, the mint mark can be found just below the date: "D" represents the Denver Mint, "S" stands for the San Francisco Mint, and no mint mark indicates the Philadelphia Mint. Some mint marks are scarcer than others like the S in this coin’s case, meaning that 1943-S steel pennies are often the most valuable (not including coins with rare errors).

In addition to mint marks, it's essential to check for mint errors that may have occurred during the coin's production. Mint errors can happen when something goes awry in the minting process, resulting in a coin that deviates from the standard design. These errors can significantly increase a coin's value, so keep an eye out for unusual features or irregularities. For example, the 1943-D/D repunched mintmark steel penny can be worth more than $1,000 in uncirculated MS-65 condition or better. 

To accurately estimate the value of your 1943 steel penny, thoroughly examine the coin, taking into account its condition, mint marks and potential mint errors. Now look up your specific coin with as much detail as possible and see how much similar coins sell for.

How to Buy and Sell 1943 Steel Pennies

Most 1943 Steel Pennies in average condition aren't worth selling unless sold in bulk. The rarest specimens are often bought and sold through major auction houses like Heritage Auctions. You can also try to go down to your local coin shop to see if it has steel pennies.

Other Collectible Coins You May Prefer

  1. Mercury Dimes: These attractive silver dime coins were minted from 1916 to 1945 and are some of the most popular collector’s coins in the U.S. They depict young Liberty wearing her Phrygian cap on the obverse, which was often confused with the Roman god Mercury. Mercury Dimes can be purchased from reliable precious metals dealers like JM Bullion.
  1. American Gold Eagle Coins: American Gold Eagle Coins are some of the most popular bullion coins in the world. They come in various denominations including 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz and 1/10 oz. These popular gold coins are a great investment and can be bought from reputable dealers such as JM Bullion, American Hartford Gold and APMEX.
  1. Gold Austrian Philharmonic Coins: Austrian Philharmonic Gold coins celebrate the world-renowned Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra with beautiful sparkling gold designs. Minted by the Austrian Mint, they are one of Europe’s most popular gold bullion coins They come in denominations of 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz and 1/10 oz.

Where to Invest in Rare Coins

High Value Coins as an Alternative Investment

In 1943, during World War II, the United States faced a copper shortage due to the war effort. As a result, the U.S. Mint made a unique decision to produce pennies using steel instead of the traditional copper. This makes the 1943 steel penny a highly sought-after coin among collectors.

So, before you dismiss that old penny as mere pocket change, read on to discover the fascinating world of the 1943 steel penny and its potential value.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a 1943 steel penny worth today?


A 1943 steel penny is worth about 10-20 cents in circulated condition. However, if it is in mint condition or has any unique characteristics, it could be worth significantly more to collectors. It is always best to consult with a professional coin appraiser or do thorough research to get an accurate value for your specific coin.


Which 1943 penny is worth $1000000?


The 1943 penny that is worth $1000000 is the one that was mistakenly made out of copper instead of zinc-coated steel. Only a few of these pennies were produced and they are extremely rare, making them highly valuable to collectors.


What is the rare error on the 1943 steel penny?


The rare error on the 1943 steel penny is the presence of a copper coating.

About Henry Stater

Henry is an expert in all things crypto. He stays up to date with all the latest coins, platforms and technologies in the field. He has particular expertise in the burgeoning decentralized finance ecosystem and loves trying out all the new platforms. He also always follows major events in other financial markets and geopolitics as a whole, especially when an event’s effects ripple through the crypto market.