How Much Is a 1943 Silver Penny Worth

How much is a 1943 silver penny worth? The 1943 silver penny is worth about 10 to 13 cents in circulated condition and 50 cents or more in uncirculated condition. With no mint mark it is worth $0.30, very fine ones are $0.35, and when in excellent condition it is worth $8.

The 1943 Silver Penny Design

This coin is an unusual one. They are both uncommon and hardly rare. This one cent wartime coin was made at a time when copper was much needed for other important purposes that the US government had to make this one with zinc plated steel making it look like it was silver.

The 1943 steel cent is an interesting coin. In this article, you will learn about the counterpart coin, the copper cent, its counterfeits, and the ones called novelty coins.

1943 Silver Penny: The History

The Lincoln cents were composed of 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc. But that was all to change soon when the world went to war with each other.

1943 Silver Penny (Steel Cent)
Location Minted
Philadelphia 684,628,670
Denver 217,660,000
San Francisco 191,550,000
Total 1,093,838,670

It was 1943, and the second world war was almost nearing its eventual end—but of course—no one living knew this at the time. Nations were spending their last resources in a war that had been raging since 1939.

The US was running out of copper due to the war. Ammunition companies and other military weapons manufacturers were using up most of these metals for the war efforts. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor rumors grew about this shortage and in January 1942 the Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine that treasury officials were thinking of alternatives. Throughout that year there were pleas for people to return their nickels and cents.

1943 Silver Penny Worth
Metal Composition 99% Steel – A thin layer of zinc
Mass/Weight 2.702 grams
Diameter 19.05 mm
Thickness 1.55 mm
Mint Marks “D” “S”
Edge Plain
Designer Victor D Brenner

The US mint began researching other options for the 1943 cent. They needed to limit their dependence on copper usage. They even experimented on plastic, and on the white planchet.

Eventually, they settled on zinc-coated steel. The new coins were minted in Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Denver but only the Denver and San Francisco coins had mint marks, the D and S marks.

The composition of the coin caused it to be 13% lighter but magnetic. The public mistook the pennies for dimes. When the coins would go into vending machines they would get stuck to the mechanism that picked up slugs.

Furthermore, because the edges of the coin weren’t covered in the galvanization process they would quickly develop rust when sweat touches them.

Soon the mints salvaged the situation by minting coins from brass shell casings augmented with pure copper. This new composition was used for the 1944 to 1946 cents. The prewar composition was resumed after this.

The public hated these cents so much that the Treasury only issued them when bronze copper cents were unavailable. In the later part of 1943 treasury announced that they will not be producing steel cents again after December 31, 1943. They were also going to create cents from the prewar alloy without tin.

The steel cents were recalled for 20 years. By 1950 the pennies were becoming hard to find and by 1960 almost none existed. In spite of the mint’s effort to call many of the pennies back, there were still over 930 million pieces in circulation. The three minting facilities produced 1,093,838,670 of the one-cent coins.

The 1943 Silver Penny Design

Over the years, the Lincoln cent has gone through several designs. But the 1943 steel cent features the same Victor David Brenner design as the Lincoln cent that had been in use since 1909.

Obverse

Obverse

This penny is one of the plainest designs on coins. It features the head of Abraham Lincoln facing right. The letterings include the words “IN GOD WE TRUST,” “LIBERTY” and “1943”

Reverse

Reverse

The reverse features the wheat heads on both sides. The letterings are: “E PLURIBUS UNUM” “ONE CENT” and “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”

The 1943 Silver Penny Value And Types

The mintage of the 1943 penny was manufactured in Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Denver. However, not all the coins have mint marks. The mark distribution is:

  • Philadelphia (No mint mark)
  • San Francisco (S mark)
  • Denver (D mark)

Collectors are particular about cents that have mint marks. They are usually worth more at auction sales. To put it in an open perspective, the table below shows the summary of the value of the categories of coins. Of course, the coin without a mark was manufactured in the Philadelphia mint.

Coin Mintage Value
1943 P 684,628,670 $0.30
1943 S 191,550,000 $0.65 to $25
1943 D 217,660,000 $0.13 to $2,500

The 1943 penny is further valued by the condition of the coin. The grades can be either AU or About Uncirculated or Mint State. Mint State condition is graded from 58 to 68.

Below is a table of values by PCGS.

1943 Silver Penny Value Chart By PCGS
Grade Value
AU 58 $1
MS 63 $4
MS 64 $10
MS 65 $25
MS 66 $45
MS 67 $165
MS 67+ $400
MS 68 $2,500

Usacoinbook gives an estimate below to help you determine just how valuable your penny might be.

1943 Silver Penny Value Chart By USA Coin Book
Quality 1943 1943 S 1943 D
Good $0.16 $0.27 $0.22
Very Good $0.22 $0.32 $0.32
Fine $0.32 $0.43 $0.38
Very Fine $0.38 $0.71 $0.43
Extra Fine $0.43 $0.82 $0.49
About Uncirculated $0.55 $1.11 $0.82
MS 60 $2.74 $6.4 $3.22
MS 65 $8.91 $22 $11

Other coin valuers estimate that the 1943 penny can attract prices as high as $3,500 or more. This is if the coin is rated as high as MS 68. The hurdle you have to jump over is getting your coin graded.

Putting up for sale on auction sites like JM Bullion can help you get your coin sold at a marked price like the ones in the table below.

1943 Silver Penny Value Chart By JM Bullion
Year Fine Extra Fine Uncirculated
1943 $0.3 $0.4 $0.5
1943 S $0.4 $0.75 $1
1943 D $0.35 $0.45 $0.75

Greysheet is one of the best and respected coin experts collectors rely on for price information. Below is a chart showing how the organization valued the 1943 steel penny.

1943 Silver Penny Value Chart By Greysheet
Grade Price
MS 68 $2,500
MS 67 $190
MS 66 $30
MS 64 $1.25
MS 63 $0.55
MS 62 $0.75
MS 60 $0.50
AU 55 $0.25
AU 50 $0.20
XF 40 $0.15
VF 20 $0.13

The 1943 D Bronze Blanchet

The bronze Blanchet was manufactured with 95% copper, 5% tin and zinc. This 1943 D coin is considered the king of error coins among collectors. There are just ten to fifteen bronze Blanchet from the Philadelphia mint, six from the San Francisco mint and there’s only one from the Denver mint.

The coin sold on Heritage Auctions in 2021 for $840,000.

The 1943 D Bronze Blanchet

1943-D Double Die Obverse

Another variety on the silver penny is the double die obverse. The double die is a numismatic term used to refer to an incorrect or a misalignment of the die or hub during the hubbing process. The severity of the double die can vary from slight one to extreme or widespread. Double Die Obverse coins attract significant worth.

The grading below was done by Coppercoins.

Double-die obverse 1

Here the double die occurs in the D mint mark.

Double-die obverse 1

AU53 $10
MS63 $25
MS65 $45

Double-die obverse 2

Here the double die occurs in the eyes of Abraham Lincoln. You can see the second eyelid occurring in front of the eye, and the shadow of it on the bridge of the nose.

Double-die obverse 2

AU53 $4
MS63 $10
MS65 $30

Double-die obverse 3

This double die occurs in the D and there’s a strong spread in the doubling in the 9 and the 1. This one has the highest worth of the varieties.

Double-die obverse 3

AU53 $25
MS63 $50
MS65 $100

Double-die obverse 4

In this variety the doubling is in the LIBE and the IN. You can observe it around the bottom edge of the letters.

AU53 $8
MS63 $20
MS65 $40

Double-die Obverse 5

There are more separations in the inside of the B, E, and the bottom of the L and I. There’s some separation also on the R, in the underarm of the T and then the bottom of the R.

Double-die Obverse 5

AU53 $8
MS63 $15
MS65 $35

Double-die obverse 6

Here you’ll notice an extra thickness in the 9 of this coin and the line of separation along the body as well. There’s tripling in the cross of the 4.

Double-die obverse 6

AU53 $3
MS63 $10
MS65 $30

Double-die Reverse 1

There are double dies on the reverse of some variety of 1943 pennies too. Here’s one on the E of the E PLURIBUS UNUM and the C of CENT.

Double-die Reverse 1

AU53 $10
MS63 $20
MS65 $50

Double-die Reverse 2

There is multiple double-die reverse on the E PLURIBUS of this coin below. You’ll notice it in the E, P, and the top and inside the B.

Double-die Reverse 2

AU53 $5
MS63 $10
MS65 $30

Repunched Mintmark 1

There are repunched varieties of the 1943 pennies. This one below shows a very clear repunch mark on the D mintmark. And this is the second most valuable variety.

Repunched Mintmark 1

AU53 $100
MS63 $250
MS65 $750

Repunched mintmark 2

There’s an obvious repunch on this mintmark as you can see on the southwest of the D. This coin exacts some worth among collectors too. Below the photo is a coin estimated by Copper coins.

Repunched mintmark 2

AU53 $5
MS63 $15
MS65 $30

Repunched mintmark 3

Here’s another one of those repunched mintmarks with the repunch showing through below the D.

Repunched mintmark 3

 AU53 $3
MS63 $12
MS65 $30

1943 Silver penny Error Coins & Value

Sometimes error coins do turn up in circulation and they command a premium price for those in mint or uncirculated condition. Below you will see a few of these error coins and how much they were sold for.

1943 D Struck 15% Off-Center

1943 D Struck 15% Off-Center

Observe in the photo above how the planchet is not fully fed into place and the coin is struck 15% off. You can see the huge gap between the edges on both sides and the surface of the design. This coin sold in 2013 for $1,995 on Heritage Auctions.

1943 D Straight Clip

1943 D Straight Clip

This error coin is what’s known as a straight clip. As you can see the clip on the edge of the coin is almost perfectly straight. Above the head of the Lincoln image. This one sold for $89 in 2021 on Heritage Auctions.

Most of these coins were in circulation so it’s difficult to find one that’s in mint condition. So if you have one or some in your possession, and you think it’s in great condition you could be hoarding a potential treasure trove.

Factors Affecting The Value Of A Coin

It is important to know the steps leading to a valuable coin. These are

Date and Mintmark variety

You have to check the coin and identify the date, and the mint mark. These elements contribute to the value. If the year of your coin is considered valuable, or it carries the mintmark of the manufacturing mint then your coin is worth something. You will find a plethora of images showing how to spot the date and mint mark.

Grading condition

The grade is determined by the condition of the coin. Most valuable coins are in an uncirculated or mint state. Coins are assigned MS (Mint State) and numbers 61 to 68, or AU (About Uncirculated) to VG or Very Good.

Special Qualities

These qualities refer to elements that coins don’t generally share in common. These elements either add to the value of the coin or reduce it. For example, in this article, we have considered what’s called error coins and the other types and varieties. If perhaps your coin has a straight clip then your coin is considered very valuable because it is one of a few coins with this special quality. There are so many images online showing these qualities.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is a 1943 silver penny worth in 2021?

In circulated condition they are worth 10 to 13 cents. If it is uncirculated it is worth as much as $0.50.

How do I know if my 1943 penny is rare?

Your penny is rare if it was mistakenly made with copper. Some copper pennies go for thousands of dollars. However, you should be aware that their fake pennies are coated with copper but are actually steel inside.

Which 1943 steel penny is valuable?

The 1943 penny that is valuable is the one that’s either a variety penny or one with a special quality. The 1943 D repunched mintmark is a very valuable penny.

What penny is worth $1000000?

The 1943 S Lincoln penny on a bronze planchet was sold for 1 million dollars. It was purchased by Bob R Simpson, Co-chairman of the Texas Rangers Baseball club.

How do I know if my 1943 penny is valuable?

Your coin is valuable if it’s in mint condition, has a mint mark, and if it has special qualities.

How can I tell if my 1943 silver penny is real?

You can tell if your penny is real by placing a magnet over the coin. The penny is made of steel covered with zinc. It should attract the magnet if it’s real. Rust around the edges is also an indication that your coin is real although this greatly reduces its value. If the coin doesn’t stick to the magnet it may be that it is made of copper. Have it graded by an expert grader.

Final Thoughts

About 40 1943 copper alloy cents are known to remain in existence. If you are fortunate to have one of them, know that you struck gold.

The best way to know for sure if your 1943 coin is valuable is to have it examined by expert graders who would give you an idea of just how much wealth you’re carrying around. It is so much fun to study the American coins, and they can be from any year. The 1943 penny is surely one of the most interesting coins you will ever find.

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