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The Elusive 1944 Steel Penny

November 2, 2015 0 Comments

steel cents

If you have any background in coin collecting, you would probably know that for one year in 1943, the United States mint created pennies out of steel instead of their standard copper (there was a copper shortage during World War II). But what you might not know is that there were some steel pennies that were minted the next year, in 1944. These 1944 Steel Pennies are one of the rarest and most sought-after coins in all of numismatics. With over one billion steel cents minted, only 35 1944 Steel Cents have been found.

Why Were Some 1944 Pennies Struck In Steel?

While the origin of the 1944 Steel Cent is a mystery, there have been quite a few theories posited over the decades. One of the most popular theories is centered around the Belgian two-franc coin. For a brief time in 1944, the Belgian two-franc coin was minted by the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. Since the Belgian two-franc is a steel coin, there would have been steel planchets (coin blanks) available on the manufacturing floor. The popular theory is that the steel planchets for the Belgian two-franc were accidentally struck when it came time to use the Lincoln penny dies.

Another common theory is that there were left-over steel blanks in the hoppers of the Lincoln die stamping machines. The 1944 steel pennies were stamped on accident and released into circulation.

Regardless of why the steel cents were produced doesn’t change the fact that if you happen across a 1944 Steel Cent then you’ve actually found the needle in the haystack! Depending on the condition, the 1944 steel penny has a value of around $75,000 to $110,000.

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