The year is 1942.  The US is still recovering from the attack on Pearl Harbor in Dec of 1941.  World War 2 was well under way and the US needed to conserve it’s metals for the War.   The mint came up with an idea to strike the 1943 pennies from Steel with a Zinc coating.  As you will see below, in 1942 the US started striking the Nickel out of 35% silver to save the Nickel for the war.

The 1943 Steel Penny was born.  They quickly found out that once wet the coin would rust and corrode, turning the coin black.   There are several variations of the 1943/1944 penny.  The most Rare of the variants is the 1943 Copper Penny.  It’s thought that only 40 were struck and only 12 are known to exist. The 1943 Copper Penny was struck with leftover Planchets from 1942.  In 1944 a Steel penny was also accidentally struck from the 1943 Steel Planchets.  Both of these variations command a hefty price, some being worth as much as $1.7 Million.

Here are some pics of the 1943 Steel Pennies from each mint. The mint mark can be found just below the date on these coins.


San Francisco


Philadelphia has no mint mark


1942-1945 Jefferson War Nickels

Out of all the Nickels produced by the US mint, the 1942-1945 were the only in silver.  At the time Nickel was such a precious commodity for the war, it was cheaper to strike them out of 35% silver, 56% copper and 9% manganese.  The silver content of these coins makes them worth $0.82 cents in just melt value.  Here is a closer look at the coin.

The letter ‘P’ was used as a mintmark for the first time on a U. S. coin.  You get a better look of it here above the dome of Monticello.


Penny and Nickel Story

I hope you found the story of these coins interesting.  So many different coins with great stories like this and I hope to cover several of them.  You can find many more interesting facts about coins at the PCGS website.

Did you already know the story about these coins?  Do you have any coins that interest you and like to know more?  Let me know in the comment section and I’ll try to do a post on them.  Have a great day!

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