1943 Cent Story Prompts Thousands of Calls to Mint

March 30, 1999
Mint uses www.usmint.gov to set the record straight

Washington, D.C. – Recent news stories about the elusive 1943 copper–alloy cents have prompted thousands of calls to the U.S. Mint seeking information about these rare pennies, which were never officially released by the Mint. The initial news report incorrectly gave the impression that the government was seeking the cents in question, and incorrectly reported the value of a single 1943 cent at $500,000.

“We posted accurate information about the 1943 cent on our website at www.usmint.gov to correct any misconceptions about the potential value and the way to judge the authenticity of the coins,” said Mint Director Philip N. Diehl.

Information about the 1943 cent is located at www.usmint.gov under the heading What’s New.

Nearly all 1943 circulating pennies at that time were struck in zinc–coated steel because copper and nickel were needed for the allied war effort. Coin experts speculate that only 40 1943 copper–alloy cents were struck by accident when copper–alloy blanks used in 1942 remained in the press hopper when production began on the new steel cents.

“We welcome this opportunity to expand the reach of www.usmint.gov with collectors and the public at large,” said Diehl. “The enormous public interest in the 1943 cent has generated a great deal of interest in other historic coins too, and we plan on posting additional tips and information about what to look for and how to authenticate and appraise these coins. We’re looking at our archival records to find additional background about the 1943 cent — which we plan to post soon — with an eye toward sharing more historical information about U.S. coinage.”

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