How Much Is A 1943 Wheat Penny Worth?

The 1943 wheat penny made from zinc is worth between $0.16 (G4) and $6,000 (MS68) depending on where they were minted.

Some 1943 steel wheat cents also come with a D over D mint mark error making them more valuable as they are unique. A record price of $21,275 was fetched at auction for a MS67 D/D.

The 1943 wheat back penny is very unique as it was the only year that Lincoln head cents where supposed to be made of zinc, however some rare zinc coated steel coins exist with a 1944 mint date.

1943 Steel Lincoln Wheat Penny

Image Source: USA Coinbook

The zinc alloy gives the coin a silver appearance and they are commonly referred to as 'Steel Cents', although they have been mistaken for aluminum and lead.

A strange minting anomaly also occurred in 1943 which saw the production of a handful of copper/bronze wheat pennies across all three mints.

Some leftover copper planchets (sometimes mistaken for brass) were still in the presses from the previous year (1942) as the zinc planchets were loaded up.

These copper 1943 American pennies were struck and sent out with the initial batches of zinc coins.

The small batch of 1943 bronze wheat pennies that were minted in Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver are now among the most valuable Lincoln cents on the market for collectors.

The most rare example is the 1943 D bronze wheat penny of which there is only one known to exist. It just recently sold at Heritage Auctions on January 20th, 2021 for $840,000.

1943 Lincoln Wheat Cent (Steel)

1943 Lincoln Wheat Penny Steel

Image Source: USA Coinbook

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Philadelphia (No Mint Mark)
  • Metal Composition: Zinc Coated Steel
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 2.7 grams
  • Mintage: 684,628,670
  • Value: $0.16 (G4) - $8.69 (MS65)

The silver colored Lincoln wheat cent minted in Philadelphia with no mint mark is the most common 1943 penny. Over 684 million of these zinc coated steel coins were produced.

The reason for the change from Bronze to Zinc was to do with the US war effort that year.

All metals were a precious commodity during World War II and copper was particularly important as it was needed for munitions and shell casings.

Value Of The 1943 Steel Penny

The value of your wartime steel cent is determined by its condition and usually depends on whether it has been circulated or uncirculated.

Circulated coins usually range between 1 and 59 on the Sheldon scale, whereas uncirculated coins range from 60 to 70 and are often preceded by MS or Mint State.

According to USA Coinbook, a circulated 1943 Philadelphia minted steel penny is worth between 10 and 55 cents, whereas an uncirculated coin is worth between $2.74 and $10.

One of the finest examples of this coin sold at Heritage Auctions on June 18th, 2021 for $6000. It was graded MS68 by PCGS.

1943 Steel Cent Errors

Some valuable errors from this year include a Philadelphia minted MS66 penny struck on a dime planchet which sold at Heritage Auctions for $8,400.

Another XF40 graded errored coin was created when a Curacao 25 cent planchet was mistakenly used and this sold for $7,637.50.

Perhaps one of the most notable and unique errors happened when a 1943 penny was struck over a Cuban 1 centavo. This produced a MS62 coin that sold for $38,187.50.

1943 Lincoln Wheat Cent (Bronze)

1943 Lincoln Wheat Penny Bronze

Image Source: USA Coinbook

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Philadelphia (No Mint Mark)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 20
  • Value: $23,000 (EF40) - $1,000,000+ (MS63RD)

One of the most valuable Lincoln cents ever produced. There are only thought to be 20 of these 1943 bronze wheat cents available with no mint mark meaning they were made at the Philadelphia mint.

Due to their rarity, these coins are very valuable and continue to rise in value every year.

A lower quality EF40 was sold for $23,000 in 2001 which was a real bargain for the buyer.

An higher quality MS62BN sold in 2021 for $372,000, while the finest known MS63RD was sold privately for over one million dollars to an anonymous collector in 2018.

It is now part of The Dazzling Red Collection of Lincoln Wheat Cents owned by this unnamed collector.

Is Your 1943 Wheat Penny Fake?

Due to their high value for coin collectors, there are lots of fakes around. Some of them are very hard to identify and even experienced numismatists find it difficult to tell the difference.

A popular counterfeiting method is to plate a steel cent with copper. They look very convincing, although you can check the coin for authenticity with a magnet.

If the coin sticks to the magnet, it contains steel and is fake.

Another scam involves the 1948 penny. The scammer attempts to file down the 8 in the date to look like a 3. To the untrained eye, you could be tricked into thinking you have a rare 1943 copper wheat penny.

1943 D Lincoln Wheat Cent (Steel)

1943 D Lincoln Wheat Penny Steel

Image Source: USA Coinbook

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Denver (D)
  • Metal Composition: Zinc Coated Steel
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 2.7 grams
  • Mintage: 217,660,000
  • Value: $0.21 (G4) - $11 (MS65)

1943 D Lincoln Wheat Cent (Bronze)

1943 D Lincoln Wheat Penny Bronze

Image Source: HA.com

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Denver (D)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 1
  • Value: $840,000 (MS64BR)

1943 S Lincoln Wheat Cent (Steel)

1943 S Lincoln Wheat Penny Steel

Image Source: USA Coinbook

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: San Francisco (S)
  • Metal Composition: Zinc Coated Steel
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 2.7 grams
  • Mintage: 191,550,000
  • Value: $0.26 (G4) - $22 (MS65)

1943 S Lincoln Wheat Cent (Bronze)

1943 S Lincoln Wheat Penny Bronze

Image Source: USA Coinbook

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: San Francisco (S)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 5
  • Value: $207,000 (VF35) - $504,000 (MS63BR)

More Lincoln Wheat Cents 1909 - 1958

1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958.


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