Is my 1943 Copper Cent real?

Discussion in 'Frequently Asked Questions' started by National dealer, May 27, 2004.

  1. National dealer

    National dealer New Member

    In 1943 the country was fighting World War II and copper supplies were needed to make cartridge casings for the war effort.
    The steel pennies of 1943 were called silver cents because of their silver grey color. These cents range in color from grey to black because the zinc coating tended to wear off quickly leaving the steel vulnerable to corrosion.

    Were any 1943 pennies made of copper? Yes! Approximately two dozen were made, due to an accident at the mints.

    They missed some blanks leftover from 1942, because 1943 copper cents were later found in circulation. None are known in mint condition.

    Genuine 1943 copper cents are rare and hard to find, and they can be quite valuable. When offered for sale at an auction, they have sold from $10,000 to over $100,000.

    Beware of fakes! The 1943 copper cents are so rare they are a popular target of counterfeiters and other scam artists. Favorite methods of faking the 1943 copper cent include:

    Copper plating a 1943 steel cent.
    Altering the date of a Lincoln cent of another year to make it look like the last digit is a "3" -1948 is a common choice.
    Casting a coin from scratch -very crude and easy to tell, coins are struck not cast.
    Creating a die from a genuine 1943 steel cent and striking a copper coin with it.
    If you think you have a 1943 copper cent, how can you tell if it is genuine?

    Steel cents weigh 2.7 grams, copper cents weigh 3.11 grams.
    Steel cents are attracted to a magnet, copper cents aren't.
    Compare the digits on a 1943 steel cent with your coin. The shape of the digits should be the same and there should not be tooling marks where empty space would be on the"3".

    If your cent passes ALL of the above tests then it is time to get the coin certified by one of the grading services such as NGC or PCGS.
     
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  3. Blou

    Blou New Member

    Now I can stop running around the house thinking I'm rich...it's zinc...
    bummer!!!!! :)
     
  4. DJCoinz

    DJCoinz Majored in Morganology

    Thanks for the info! [​IMG]
     
  5. Troodon

    Troodon Coin Collector

    I've also heard that there are 1944 cents minted on steel planchets meant for the 1943's. ANy word on those? The rarity, the value, how often they are/were faked, etc.? All i've ever found was inferences that they were more common than 1943 copper cents (though even if they were doubly so, that still makes them pretty rare) and that apparently there isn't as much interest in them as 1943 copper cents (certaintly the case, seeing how they're barely mentioned and I can never seem to find much written about them.)
     
  6. Just Carl

    Just Carl Numismatist

    There used to be and may well still be a web site where all kinds of wierd coins are listed as real. The 1943 Copper Cent, The 1944 Steel Cent, The 1959 Wheat Back Cent, the all Aluminum one (date forgotten) and a lot more. Sure wish I could remember that site.
     
    jon12 likes this.
  7. Dima

    Dima Member

    That's the infamous 1974. Very, very interesting story about that attempted production; one of my favorites. It's in the same category as the 1964 Peace Dollar - illegal to have... unless you are the Smithsonian.

    Here's a link to the 1974 aluminum cent article.

    Cheers!
     
  8. Ripley

    Ripley Senior Member

    Very interesting thread. I like it alot. Traci:)
     

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    swamp yankee likes this.
  9. jessash1976

    jessash1976 Coin knowledgeable

    Also,

    remember the magnet test. That is a sure giveaway.
     
  10. coins123

    coins123 Member

    Yes, the magnet test is the best! Most of those coins are copper plated. Do beware fakes from China that are struck from dies.
     
  11. Spire

    Spire New Member

    I just recently found this fake one in my collection that i got from a friend. You can easily make out that its a fake.
     

    Attached Files:

    -Andy- and swamp yankee like this.
  12. Hobo

    Hobo Squirrel Hater

    Yep, that '8' is easily made into a '3'. It's crude but will fool a lot of people. (How long did it fool you?)
     
  13. Spire

    Spire New Member

    I was looking through my collection just a few moments ago, and as i saw it, right away i saw the tool marks on the 8, and also noticed how the 3 does not extend farther down like the steel cents. So not even a second.
     
  14. 10gary22

    10gary22 Junior Member

    I came across one of the altered 48's more than 50 years ago. My brother and I were so dumb we poked a knife point into it to see if it was really copper, before we figured out that the 3 looked funky. lol Man, we thought we were gonna be rich ! LOL.

    I think it might even still be in a junk box someplace. If I can find it, I will try a pic.

    gary
     
  15. shawni

    shawni Member

    Wow what a great story! I am new to the coin world and love the penny along with everyother coin.. so it seems. I had never heard of the aluminum cent and enjoyed reading up on it. Thanks for sharing the link. My daughter had learned of the copper 43 penny a lit while back and that got her started. She is still looking and hoping one day to find a copper 43. We have heard from a few people that they are all accounted for and she is wasting her time.. but still to this day she always has her eye out for one ;)
     
  16. Dr Coin

    Dr Coin New Member

    If you think you have a 1943 copper penny, its very rare and 1 reason i can tell if it is a fake is to match up a picture of a real one and compare your penny to a 1948 penny because if you cut the 8 in half you get a 3.
     
  17. awalker97

    awalker97 New Member

  18. Kasia

    Kasia Got my learning hat on Supporter

    The 1959 Wheat Cent was seen as a counterfeit, just very well made. From what I understand, the designer, Frank Gasparro was very interested in NOT having any errors that year with the wrong reverse, so the mint was extra careful not to let it happen. There should be NO legitimate wheat back on a 1959.
     
  19. VDBforDave

    VDBforDave Lincoln Error Collector

    Very nice info, kept it short and was very informative! Oh it's a dream to find this penny:yes::thumb:
    (Every time I'm in a gas station food mart and I'm at the cash register, I get nervous when I see the "Take a Penny, Leave a Penny" tray full....:p)
     
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  20. Kid_Collector

    Kid_Collector Member

    hehe i get little kids to go up to the counter and get a hand full of them. . .
     
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  21. 10gary22

    10gary22 Junior Member

    I got a laugh out of that one, because it looks identical to one I found when aa Boy Scout back in 1957. I may still have it around in a file box someplace. The collection has grown a bit, but some memories stay with us forever. thanks for posting that pic,

    gary
     
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