Updated as of 10/2010:
1943 plain - $35,000 to $137,000 depending on condition
1943 S - $125,000 to $275,000
1943 D - up to $1.75 million at auction
The 1943 copper cent is one of the most famous American rarities. However, it's important to be careful when talking about a 1943 copper "penny". Many countries struck copper coins with the true denomination of a penny; the American coin is really called a CENT. For example there has been a lot of misinformation about the value of 1943 pennies from Australia or Canadian cents because people mix up the terminology. Those coins are NOT rare - the rare 1943 copper coin is an American one-cent piece.
To explain how these coins came to be, by mid-1942 huge amounts of copper were needed to make ammunition and shell casings. The Mint was asked to find a different material for 1-cent coins as a way of conserving copper for the war effort. They tried several alternatives, even plastic, but finally settled on zinc-coated steel. It's assumed that a few copper (actually bronze, 95% copper/5% tin and zinc) blanks left over from 1942 were stuck in the bottom of a holding bin or other container. They were jostled free and got mixed in with the steel blanks being struck with the 1943 date. The bins of completed coins were bagged and put into circulation so the copper coins went out with the steel ones. Interestingly, the problem occurred at all 3 mints: plain (Philadelphia), D (Denver) and S (San Francisco) copper cents have been found.
The steel coins served an important purpose but were ultimately unsuccessful. When new, they were easily confused with dimes and caused a lot of errors when making change. After a while the zinc coating oxidized and/or wore off. When it wore off the underlying steel rusted. When it didn't wear off it turned dark gray, so an urban legend developed that the coins were made of lead, a dangerous metal. Well into the 1950s there were people who refused to touch the coins for fear of "lead poisoning".
In 1944 the Mint resumed producing copper cents using recycled ammunition cases, so cents from 1944 and 1945 are sometimes called "shell-case cents".
A curious side note is that some leftover steel blanks found their way into the presses in 1944. In spite of the fact that these coins are equally rare, 1944 steel cents have never had the "cachet" of their more famous (and more valuable) cousins.Millions of Fakes
If you have a "1943 copper penny" it's most likely either copper-plated or the date has been altered from a 1945 or 48; most of the known 1943 copper cents are accounted for in collections. If it is a copper plated steel cent, it will stick to a magnet. An altered coin will probably be easily identified by comparing it to a 1943 steel cent under an 8x or 10x magnifier.
A really good fake or counterfeit may only be detected by an expert. Also, there is a great article on the subject of 1943 US cents called 'Learn the facts of '43 cents': http://www.rrcoins.net/43_Cents.htm
Value (US$): $200,000+AnswerAbout 40 1943 copper cents are known to remain in existence. The easiest way to determine if your 1943 cent is copper (and valuable) is to test it with a magnet. If it sticks to the magnet, it is a steel penny, and not valuable. If it does not stick, then you might have hit the jackpot... have a expert authenticate your coin.
1 -- The coin will not stick to a magnet.
2 -- The weight of the coin is 48 grains or 3.11 grams.
3 -- The "3" in 1943 has the same long tail as the "steelies."
4 -- The quality of the strike is exceptionally sharp especially around the rim because the bronze coin was struck with the same higher pressure as the steel pennies.
5 -- Have the coin authenticated by and independent grading service.There are bazillions of fake copper 1943 cents. If the coin sticks to a magnet, it's a 1943 steel cent that's been plated. If the tail of the "3" in the date is rounded in almost a half-circle rather than nearly straight, it's a 1948 cent that's been altered. Either way they're damaged coins. If neither of these conditions holds, it's still likely to be a fake made either by casting or electronic "sputtering".
If it's real it should weigh 3.11 gm and have a clear "ding" when (gently) dropped on a hard table. If so, it should be checked by a certified expert in rare coins.
If it's a US 1 cent coin it's zinc not copper and value is 1 cent
...One cent. It is in common circulation and made out of copper coated zinc.
On average, one is worth about 10 cents.
It's worth 2 cents for the copper.
A US steel Lincoln cent is 5 to 10 cents in average condition.
2 cents, for its copper content.
1943 makes it one of the silver war nickels, currently worth about $1.60.
No, but the 1943 Lincoln cent was made of steel, as copper was needed for the war effort.
The 1943 US cent was made of steel with a zinc coating to prevent rust and weighed 2.70 grams. The cent of today is composed of 99.2 % zinc and 0.8 copper with a plating of pure copper and weighs 2.5 grams.
It's currently worth 2 cents for the copper.
About 2 cents, due to copper content.
It's currently worth 2 cents for the copper.
This is not something made by the US mint. 1943 quarters are 90% silver and 10% copper.
Steel cents were only minted in 1943 as a way to save copper for the war effort. If your coin is silver-colored it has been plated and is only worth 1¢.
The 1943 Denver copper cent. It was recently sold for 1.7 million US dollars.
HIGHER!!! It is worth $150,000!!!!CorrectionThe above response refers to an AMERICAN copper penny dated 1943. All Canadian cents dated 1943 were made of copper, while 2010 cents are copper-plated steel. 1943 Canadian cents are worth around 50 cents to a dollar depending on condition, so they're certainly worth more than 2010 cents but not a huge amount. To explain the value of a 1943 AMERICAN copper cent, the US Mint switched to zinc-plated steel that year because copper was needed for making ammunition. A few copper blanks left over from 1942 were accidentally mixed in and were struck with the 1943 date. These coins are very rare and can sell for the amount quoted above.
It's actually steel with only a thin zinc coating. In average condition, a "steelie" cent is only worth 25 to 50 cents. In better condition its value depends on its mint mark and how worn it is. Please see the question "What is the value of a 1943 US cent?" for more information.
If genuine, they are worth tens of thousands of dollars. Certification is required.However, 99.9% of them out there are fakes. Try checking it with a magnet -- if it sticks, it's a fake.1943 copper penny? Value (US$): $200000
There is no such coin. The US mint does not a coin out of only one metal.
Not very valuable at all. these were produced in the billions. not rare but a nice thing to have.
The only US coin ever struck in steel was the famous 1943 Lincoln cent, minted when copper was diverted to making ammunition. All buffalo nickels are made of an alloy of 75% copper and 25% nickel. Please see the question "What is the value of a 1927 US nickel?" for more information.
Any US cent dated 1982 and before is mostly copper, billions are still in circulation and are face value.
A 1983 Lincoln cent is actually copper plated zinc, 1982 was the last year for copper pennies. It's just a penny.
The first 5-cent US nickel was made in 1866, the 3-cent nickel in 1865, and the copper-nickel flying eagle 1-cent in 1856.
Less than 1 cent US. Go ahead and spend it.