Buy the 1944 Steel Penny on eBay
Most probably created by accident, this off-metal error coin relates to WWII, as the copper that was traditionally used was required for a number of military-related purposes as the US battled Axis powers in multiple theatres.
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There are fewer than 30 overall, so you’ll need to be careful if you’re thinking about dropping down big money on a high-ticket coin.
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Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about the 1944 steel penny, including typical values, the history of the coin, and exactly why it’s worth so much in the first place.
1944 Steel Penny – Mint Types
As it was produced in error, there’s only one mint type when it comes to the 1944 steel penny. Here’s everything you need to know about the rare coin.
1944 Steel Penny
It’s thought that there are up to two dozen copies of the 1944 steel penny in existence, but how was it made in the first place?
It’s likely that a few steel planchets (a plain metal disc used to create a coin) were leftover from ‘43 when steel was briefly used for coins.
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If you think you might have found an elusive 1944 steel penny, here’s what to do.
First of all, get some scales ready!
1944 steel pennies weigh 2.7 grams, compared to 3.11 grams found with the ordinary copper coin.
Alternatively, you could use a magnet to check out the steel content contained within. If it sticks to the magnet, you could be in luck.
1944 Steel Penny – Values
A coin in average condition has an estimated value of at least $77,000.
A copy found in certified mint state (MS+) condition could be worth $110,000 at auction.
Their rarity is one reason why they’re so expensive, but it’s also down to the composition of the coin itself. Zinc-coated steel is an unstable alloy, and many of the coins suffer from some form of damage or rusting.
Due to the vast sums, they sell for, there’s a not-insignificant black market, with a number of fakes and forgeries being sold at any given time.
We’d stick to graded options with clear provenance, and be wary, especially if a deal seems too good to be true.
1944 Steel Penny – Info and History
1943 saw a switch to a zinc-coated steel composition to help save copper for World War II ammunition, although the coin left many people confused, as it was regularly mistaken for a dime.
It was also susceptible to rust, which leads to issues with the overall condition in the present day. (The coin also didn’t work well with existing vending machines.)
Due to the reasons seen above, they switched to the Wheat Penny composition of 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc.
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Even though the United States Mint switched pennies from a steel composition to copper in 1944, some steel planchets were left behind in the presses, presumably by accident.
Thus, the 1944 Steel Penny was created.
Despite sometimes being called ‘silver pennies’, these 1944 coins actually have no silver content whatsoever.
1944 Steel Penny – Investment Outlook
It’s hard to do better if you’re looking for the rarest coins that come with a significant price tag attached.
Investment Rating: Strong Buy (4.2 out of 5)
Ownership Disclosure: None
The 1944 steel penny is a mistake, but it’s a wonderful one, and the reason for its existence is steeped in history that is important for the US, and the world itself.
With limited copies and the majority being worth tens of thousands of dollars, it’s clearly a great choice if you’re looking for a solid investment piece that is likely to retain value in the long-term.
Just keep an eye out for fakes and forgeries, such as zinc coated copper pennies which are regularly mis-sold as the real deal.