Pennies from recycled shell casings?

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by jacktj, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. jacktj

    jacktj New Member

    I have been reading a few articles online about pennies from the 40's that were made of copper, from recycled shell casings. First off, is this true? Also, if this is true, which specific years and mint marks were made from recycled copper? (if it is possible to find out). I thought there might be someone here to shed a little light on the subject. Thanks!
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  3. cciesielski01

    cciesielski01 Laced Up

    It is true and i believe it was all 3 mints from 1944-1946
  4. elijahhenry10

    elijahhenry10 New Member

    Yes that is true. I'm not certain on years but I think it is 44-47.
  5. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    I believe, like Cciesieslki said, it was 44-46. The only time you will really tell is BU red examples.
  6. theSharpGun

    theSharpGun The King

    Yeah during WW2 they recycled pretty much everything. They were looking for new ways to be more efficient in anything they did.
    This is also why there is a 1943 Steel cent.
  7. jacktj

    jacktj New Member

    Yeah I scored 3 steel pennies that were in AMAZING condition for just a few bucks.
  8. elijahhenry10

    elijahhenry10 New Member

    My bad, not 47.
  9. Billyray

    Billyray Junior Member

    The 1943 Steel Cents were made because they needed the copper for shell casings for the war. It wasn't done to be "efficient".
  10. omahaorange

    omahaorange Active Member

    This is correct, as are the other answers regarding years and mint marks (from 1944 to the end of the war). The steel cent was originally made to free up copper for shell casings. However, that coin was so unpopular with the public that in 1944 the mint turned to used shell casings for copper.

    Same with the war nickel. Nickel was used for the armor plating on tanks. So they changed the alloy in nickels to include the silver.
  11. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Yeah, silver was so worthless in WWII they actually loaned it to factories to make motor coilings with, (got it back after the war).

    Btw, nickel was also critically needed for submarine hulls as well. :)
    I_like_Morgans likes this.
  12. PennyGuy

    PennyGuy US and CDN Copper

    Page 120 of the 2013 Red Book can be quoted as a source of accurate information on this question.
  13. desertgem

    desertgem MODERATOR Senior Errer Collecktor Moderator

    Breen says 1944-45 were such "shell case" cents, they had no tin in them. Officially the cases were suppose to be used by munition makers, but residue and other problems, such as difficult to retrieve and store in battle situations, caused them instead to be used by the mint. Some say as a propagande issue to boost the moral of the US and encourage them to keep recycling copper. IMO.

    Cheech9712 likes this.
  14. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    While they were made from recycled shell casings, I don't believe they were made JUST from recycled casings. The casings probably just made up part of the melt but it could be used as a PR propaganda point to show that they were doing their part (recycling) to help with the war effort. A LOT of the things done during the war were more symbolic than something that actually had a real effect on the war effort.
    Cheech9712 and mlov43 like this.
  15. Lon Chaney

    Lon Chaney Well-Known Member

    I heard that it never actually happened. Yes, the alloy was definitely changed in 1944/45, but it never actually came down to using spent shell casings. The war ended before it actually happened.
    But I could be wrong.
  16. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    While its hard to believe shell casings from rifles or even artillery were brought back for this purpose, I heard it was ship shells. The large Missouri class battleships had enormous casings for their main guns, and when they restocked the spent casings were offloaded. THat is more plausible, but I agree it was probably mainly a PR move, like much of history.
  17. scottishmoney

    scottishmoney Bammed

    Silver was dirt cheap during the war, but the coins were allegedly supposed to be recalled after the war to be melted down for their silver - but in reality they never were recalled and continued to circulate up into the 1960's and well still do to some extent - I have found a couple of hundred of them since January in nickel box searches.
  18. desertgem

    desertgem MODERATOR Senior Errer Collecktor Moderator

    Chris, I believe the shell itself, in the main guns ( such as 16") were separate, backed by large packs of wadding and then even more packs of propellants( powder), not individual shells with powder and primer in a casing. The smaller guns such as the 5" and I believe the 8" did have casings and self contained powder/primer.
  19. scottishmoney

    scottishmoney Bammed

    It was a lot more hype than reality. The propagandists in the government wanted the population to believe that they were inconveniencing troops in the field by making them save their shell casings so they could be sent back to the states to be made into pennies. I don't doubt that shell casings were melted down for their copper for pennies, but cannot imagine in the heat of battle that someone went around scouring up all the spent casings to send back to the states.

    BTW I have the base of a 5" shell from 1944 that was made into an ashtray by my uncle who served in the Seabees in the Pacific then.
    capthank and Sasquatch like this.
  20. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Yeah, you are right. I forgot the large guns were like 3 bags of black powder and no casings. My bad. Still, battleships had lots of guns, and gathering up shells from there would have been much easier to achieve than trying to gather them from a land battlefield.
  21. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    You have then read the same thing I have. It was planned to happen, but there was not even 1 cent ever made from recycled shell casings.
    I_like_Morgans likes this.
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