I found a 1944 Steel Penny. Is it real?

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by indyfinn, Jun 13, 2012.

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  1. indyfinn

    indyfinn New Member

    Hi,
    My Dad gave me a steel penny a month or so ago. I don't know much about coins except I like older ones and keep a jar of them for the history of them. Anyway, I didn't realize 1944 was not a year that they made them in steel. When I was checking value of my coins I realized I might have something. I saw that you were supposed to use a magnet and the penny stuck to the magnet. It also sounds different when I drop it on the table from a regular penny. I also saw that these are faked but I honestly don't have a clue what I have. There is some copper coloring as well on the sides. I got on this site to see if you guys could give me an idea what to do? DSC_0049.jpg I took a picture of it next to a copper wheat penny to give you an idea. Is there any other kind of testing to do or should I just go find a coin dealer?
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  3. gbroke

    gbroke Naturally Toned Supporter

    Although the picture is not very good... I see remnants of the copper color around the rim area. Do you see that in hand?
  4. Collect89

    Collect89 Coin Collector

    It is most probably a plated cent worth little or no premium. However, please treat it like it is a real 1944 steel cent (valuable & rare) and don't damage it by cleaning (or dropping it onto a table).

    You can weigh the coin to determine how it compares to the 2.67 grams of a normal steel cent or 3.11 of a normal copper cent. This might be step #1 in your diagnostics.
  5. indyfinn

    indyfinn New Member

    yeah, there is some copper around the sides but the magnet picks the coin up
  6. Collect89

    Collect89 Coin Collector

    The fact that your cent sticks to a magnet is interesting. If it sticks with the same force as a steel 1943 cent, then you may have a valuable transitional error coin. This could be the 2nd step in your diagnostics. Compare how your coin sticks to the magnet VS a regular 1943 steel cent.

    In the mean time, here is a video which describes a high school chemistry experiment that can change the color of a US cent to either gold or silver color:

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1262456/make_a_gold_penny/
  7. Collect89

    Collect89 Coin Collector

    BTW the 1944 steel cent you are describing in this thread is one of the Holy Grails of error coin collecting. The error type has been sought by error coin collectors for the last 68 years. It is famous so many people have been looking for it. Many folk will find it hard to believe that a new CT member with no history just stumbled across the Holy Grail while inspecting a jar of old cents. I hope you have found the real deal but recognize that the coin has been expertly faked for about 68 years. Your example looks pretty shiny to me. :rollling:

    Welcome to the CT forum. :thumb:
  8. medoraman

    medoraman Well-Known Member Supporter

    Great answer. Weigh it. Its the only way to prove right off the bat its not a zinc coated copper coin. Rezincing these have been around for decades, and many people have thought it "cute" to zinc plate 1944 coins, because a very few real pieces are known. I bet you there are 1000 zinc coated copper pieces for every real one, (at least).

    To my knowledge I do not think there are ever "transitional" metal pieces. They are always all bronze or all steel. I have never heard of them mixing the alloys. The fact you say its magnetic is interesting, but if it weighs around 3.1 grams I believe that is proof its PMD zinc coated bronze.
  9. indyfinn

    indyfinn New Member

    Hi,
    I tried my 1943 steel penny on the magnet and it has a stronger attraction that the 1944 one and the 1944 one is very shiny compared to the 1943 one. I have no idea what I have, if anything. Any idea why it is so shiny, magnetic and has copper marks? If it didn't have magnetic attraction I would guess it was a fake from what I have been reading. If I had something to weigh it with I would. Guess the best course of action is to take it to a coin person?
  10. medoraman

    medoraman Well-Known Member Supporter

    Take it to a coin dealer or a jeweler to weigh it. Another option could be its nickel plated, that would be silver looking and weakly magnetic. Its a possibility.

    I am hoping for your sake its real, just telling you the steps to take easily to disprove it quickly. If its around the weight of a steel penny, then things could get interesting.
  11. indyfinn

    indyfinn New Member

    Well,
    I sure am enjoying the mystery of it so far. When my Dad gave it to me I just assumed it was a WW2 steel penny and then checking it out today and all this coming to light has been fun. I will not have time to take it to get checked until next week but when I do I will make sure and let you guys know. Probably a fake but wouldn't it be something if it were special :) Thanks for your help guys!
  12. silentnviolent

    silentnviolent accumulator

    you have a real 1943 steel. do the balance test on a real 1943 steel and the cent in question. you don't have to leave home! :)
  13. indyfinn

    indyfinn New Member

    Balance test? Just feeling them in hand they feel like the same weight and the 1944 feels heavier than the copper one I took a picture of but that could be my mind playing tricks on me. Who knows?
  14. silentnviolent

    silentnviolent accumulator

    get a popsicle stick and put a pencil under the middle of it. then put each cent on the ends. The balance test has been suggested many times on this forum.
  15. indyfinn

    indyfinn New Member

    I don't have one of those unfortunately. Right now I am just about sure it is some sort of fake from all the reading I have done. Not sure why in the world it is magnetic though. I tried picking up a nickel with the same magnet but it wouldn't work. Mercury isn't magnetic. Cannot wait to take this thing to a coin person next week and get the story on it. I can see why you guys have a site like this. This is fun :)
  16. BooksB4Coins

    BooksB4Coins Newbieus Sempiterna


    Welcome. At the very least this will be a good learning experience in that appearances can be deceiving and coins are not always what they seem. Another thing to consider is that just because someone owns or works at a coin shop, this does not make them experts or even that knowledgeable, especially with uncommon, error, and/or variety coins. Even though this coin should be an easy call, just keep this in mind for future reference.

    The chances that this coin is a 44 steel are infinitesimally small as it very much looks to plated (in what I cannot say, but I highly doubt its mercury :) ). Either way, the coin should hold great value as it was a gift from your father, so even if plated I hope you will keep and enjoy it for years to come. Good luck!
  17. BUncirculated

    BUncirculated Well-Known Member

    It's either plated, or someone removed the copper to expose the inner core of zinc.

    Zinc coated Steel Lincolns were struck in 1943 only.
  18. indyfinn

    indyfinn New Member

    One thing is for sure. If it is not some spectacularly rare and valuable coin I will keep it and more than likely frame it as a gift from my Dad. Shoot, this is more entertaining than the nintendo games I used to get for Christmas :) Thanks again guys :)
  19. silentnviolent

    silentnviolent accumulator

    And cents with a zinc inner core were only begun in 1982-present. no wheat cent will ever have an "inner core"

    C'mon BU, don't drop the ball just before the endzone... ;)
  20. BUncirculated

    BUncirculated Well-Known Member

    You're right.

    I was thinking since 44-46 there was only copper and zinc in cents, it was an inner core of zinc.
  21. cremebrule

    cremebrule Active Member

    Most likely plated. A true error struck coin should have the normal cartwheel luster and look of 1943 cents (your 1944 cent seems to have the common proof-like/chrome plating finish). Also, the fact that the '43 cent has more of an attraction to the magnet compared to the '44 in question makes it seem like the attraction on the '44 cent is coming from the plating, not the inner core.

    But...I may be wrong. Have you weighed it yet?

    And welcome to CT! :)
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