What Happened to the Value of Steel Pennies?

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Jim Leff, Apr 6, 2020.

  1. Jim Leff

    Jim Leff Member

    Woah, what the heck happened to WWII steel Lincoln cents?

    When I last checked, back in the 70s, they were worth a sizable premium. But now, at least according to usacoinbook.com, 43s are worth barely more than 40s, 41s, and 42s in any condition under AU:

    1940 P 0.16 0.19 0.21 0.42 0.64 1.08 2.17
    1941 P 0.16 0.19 0.21 0.32 0.64 1.63 2.17
    1942 P 0.16 0.19 0.21 0.26 0.53 0.80 1.08
    1943 P 0.16 0.21 0.32 0.37 0.42 0.53 2.67

    Did a big cache of them flood the market? Or did collectors just lose interest?
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  3. paddyman98

    paddyman98 Let me burst your bubble! Supporter

    What were they worth back then?
  4. Jim Leff

    Jim Leff Member

    No idea. But considerably more than similar dates.
    Robert Ransom likes this.
  5. ldhair

    ldhair Clean Supporter

    The value has not changed. The data is wrong. They have always been worth very little. Price guides are worthless.
  6. Jim Leff

    Jim Leff Member

    Which data are wrong? Price guides are worthless but Larry's authoritative?
  7. Michael K

    Michael K Well-Known Member

    I think the demand may have been higher years ago because of the unique nature of the coin, over inflating a normal price. People liked the steelies.
    Now that they are still in over abundance, the price more accurately reflects the supply and demand. MS examples still carry a nice premium, but the majority of circulated examples can be had in any coin store, or coin show for 10-15 cents apiece. With nicer XF examples going for around a quarter.
  8. fretboard

    fretboard Defender of Old Coinage!

    You got that right! :D
    Santinidollar likes this.
  9. QuintupleSovereign

    QuintupleSovereign Well-Known Member

    I think a similar phenomenon can be seen with the scarcer Jefferson nickels, which no longer carry the premiums they used to.
  10. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    I always remember steel Cents to be worth very little. As a kid they were spent. Today, many, many years later, they are worth about $.15 each. Less if they have been replated or are rusted. Only gem ones have any value.
  11. ewomack

    ewomack Senior Member Supporter

    Yes, the steelies no longer have much value, and I don't think they ever had a lot because people hoarded them, but they still carry a considerable novelty factor.

    I paid very little, I think something like $25.00, if I remember correctly, for this certified MS 66 1943 example. And that was probably paying too much.

    1943CentObv.png 1943CentRev.png
    Seba79 and Wizank like this.
  12. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Well-Known Member

    "Steel" cents were highly hoarded back in the late 40s and early 50s, so there is an over abundance of them. I myself have close to 400 that my grandfather passed down to me and the majority of those are just in average condition and worth very little. You are better off looking a actual sales on eBay to get an idea of what they are worth.
  13. Jim Leff

    Jim Leff Member

    Know what, ewomack? I kind of covet your shimmering steelie.

    I'd take it off your hands for $25 if it's still as brilliant as the photo seems to show. Or maybe we can figure out a swap (I'm awash in coins at the moment, and happy to give you extra value).
  14. rbm86

    rbm86 Coin Hoarder

    I like to spend the rusty ones :playful:
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