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The Question:

I have heard that 1943 steel pennies are worth a lot of money. I just happen to have one. Any idea how much it's worth?

The Answer:

It's true that in 1943 the content of pennies was changed from copper to zinc-coated steel due to a copper shortage during WWII.

The steel pennies are somewhat rare, but as of June 1961 there were still more than 900 million unredeemed pieces. Although valuable, they probably won't bring in too much. The folks at Collectors Universe can give you a better idea of what your coin might be worth.

Even more rare than the steel pennies, however, are pennies made that year out of copper. Yes, some copper pennies were unintentionally made in 1943. Experts think they were struck by accident when copper alloy was left over in the press hopper when production began on the new steel pennies.

According to the U.S. Mint, 40 of these 1943 copper pennies remain in existence. A 1943 copper cent was first offered for sale in 1958, bringing more than $40,000. A subsequent piece sold for $10,000 in 1981. The highest amount paid for a 1943 copper cent was $82,500 in 1996.

—The Editors

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