Cathy's corner: Steel Pennies

By Cathy Loupy

Sun Staff

A penny in disguise.

Recently, while walking Out Wickenburg Way, I came across a shiny coin.   I picked it up, thinking it was a dime, but soon realized it was a silver-grey 1943 Lincoln wheat penny.

A non-copper color penny?  Could this unusual coin be my retirement income?  Or is it a hoax?  

As a matter of fact, 1943 pennies are zinc-coated steel coins.  They are referred to as “war cents” because copper supplies were being used for munitions during WWII.

Between the Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco Mints, over 1,093,000,000 war cents were produced.  

1943 was the only year the US Mint produced these zinc-coated steel pennies because they tended to rust easily and were often confused with dimes.

So, even though this is an unusual penny, it’s not my retirement and it’s not a hoax.

According to the Official Red Book: A Guide Book of United States Coins by R.S. Yeoman, the penny in disguise is worth approximately 50 cents.

In my opinion, it’s priceless for the hidden stories it holds.

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