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The Elusive 1944 Steel Penny

November 2, 2015 18 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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Comments (18)

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  1. Alicia says:

    How do you tell if the 1944 penny is made of steel?
    Thank you,

  2. P smiley says:

    Does it matter on a ,1945 steal penny I have four

  3. P smiley says:

    Does it matter on a ,1944 steal penny I have four ,what are they worth

  4. Hans says:

    Hey. This price range u quoted is a bit high. By 75k.

  5. Chris says:

    I have a shoebox full of 1944 steel pennies my grandmother gave to me.some are copper, but most steel

  6. Huraina says:

    I hAve 2 1944 steel pennies how do I get them graded and how do I sell them.I’ve had them for since I was a kid. I’ve collected wheat pennies

  7. Fernando monzon says:

    I have 1944 silver penny want to know if its real or not

  8. Elouise says:


    I came across your blog as I went through and researched a box full of interesting old coins… I came across a 1944-S wheat penny strickenly different than the rest. Similar to the photo in your blog post.

    My question is, how does one distinguish a common penny from the one such as in your blogpost?

    Thank you in advance!

  9. Jose Quinones says:

    I found one!!

  10. 1944 steel penny I found one in the garbage I want to sell it how much will you give me for it

  11. Alvaro Campos says:

    I have a 1943 estel Penny need help to sale

  12. Alice says:

    Are all steel, 1944pennys, silver?

  13. Mickey says:

    I have a 1944 penny that is steel/ picks up with a magnet and it hasn’t been graded yet. It was handed down through the years, it is very bright and in beautiful shape. But, has a Masonic emblem stamped on it. I need it certified that its real. Ive kept it in plastic for years and has not lost its beauty. I do believe its the real deal. Im in Tn. And need help verifying its otisity. Can some one help? Ive been offered quite a bit of money for it from a dealer, but I Dont want to sell till I have proof of otisity.

  14. d says:

    my dad had me collecting pennies when I was 8 to 10 years old and I have three steel pennies one of them is 1944 can you give me some information of the value thank you I’m 64 now

  15. Roger Maxwell says:

    Will dark patina gather on my 1944 Lincoln penny. Is it possible for a 1943 wheat penny to be struck over a 1943 steal Lincoln cent?

  16. Lisa Pepe says:

    Good Day Goldeneaglecoin,

    I have a 1944 Steel Penny. I thought at first it was a dime. However, the reason for reaching out is I wanted to know if you would recommend the steps to take to authenticate my coin and an coin auction company to which I may auction off my coin or if you know of any collectors who may be interested.

    I did my research and I found several places who tried to offer $1-$50 for this coin.

    Thank you in advance for your assistance

  17. Ronnie Lee Booth says:

    I have a 1944 steel wheat penny my phone 252 402 4373 and a 1944 copper Wheat Penny

  18. Larry Van Meter says:

    I have a steel 1944 steel penny would like to sell

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