Coin Value Finder » 1943 Steel Penny Value: are “D”, “S”, No mint mark worth money?

1943 Steel Penny Value: are “D”, “S”, No mint mark worth money?

With its war-tied history and peculiar coin timeline, the Steel penny is one of the most valuable coins in the wheat penny family. This coin doesn’t just come with a zinc-coating finish; It is one of the only two coins made from steel across all three mints.

Although the value of the 1943 steel penny varies with coin conditions and quality, the error pennies are typically considered a rare find, going for as high as $1,000,000.

In this article, we’ll begin with the 1943 steel penny features; this article provides an in-depth guide to valuing your 1943 steel pennies, identifying the coin errors, and navigating coin varieties.

1943 Steel Penny Details

1943 Steel Penny Details

The American mint market might not be teeming with fakes or counterfeits. However, it is common for hobbyist collectors to grade a mint incorrectly. Apart from using a magnet, learning the features of the steel penny is a surefire way to identify the 1943 steel penny.

  • Category: Lincoln Wheat Penny
  • Edge: Plain
  • Mint Marks: D, S, or none
  • Year of Minting: 1943
  • Face Value: 1 cent 
  • Dollar Price: $0.17 – $23.00
  • Melt Value: $0.0006
  • Quantity Produced: 1,093,838,670 
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Composition: Zinc-coated steel
  • Weight: 2.7g
  • Obverse and Reverse Designer: Victor D.Brenner

The Obverse

Like every coin in the wheat penny family, this Victor-Brenner-designed Obverse has a right-looking profile of President Lincoln in its center composition. Lincoln’s collar appears quite defined on the uncirculated copies of this coin.

The inscription “IN GOD WE TRUST” hangs directly above his mop of curls, curving directly under the collar of the coin. To his left, the words “LIBERTY” are boldly engraved a little away from President Lincoln’s nape.

Abraham’s portrait isn’t the only device in the center composition. To the right of Lincoln and a few inches shy of his bust is the year of production, 1943. 

With steel pennies that feature a mint mark, the letters ‘S’ or ‘D‘ sit directly beneath the year of production, where these letters indicate the place of production.

The Reverse

The Reverse


Where the Obverse holds a clear device and minor detailing, the reverse provides a clear canvas for the denomination and legend. Here, the “ONE CENT” denomination and “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” engraving account for the center composition of the Reverse field.

The center field is bounded by two wheat stalks which run on either side of the inscription until they curve inwards.

Sitting directly above the legend “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” the  “ONE CENT” denomination appears in the largest font on the 1943 penny wheat coin. The then de facto motto, “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” appears at the top end of the field, running directly underneath the curve of the top rim.

1943 Steel Penny Value Chart

Mint mark



Extremely Fine

Uncirculated (Mint State)

1943 No Mint Mark Steel Penny Value $0.17 $0.34 $0.46 $9.35
1943 “D” Mint Mark Steel Penny Value $0.23 $0.40 $0.57 $11
1943 “D” Mint Mark Steel Penny Value (Boldly Doubled Mint Mark) $17 $46 $68 $1161
1943 “S” Mint Mark Steel Penny Value $0.28 $0.46 $0.87 $23

1943 Steel Penny Value and Varieties Guide

The wheat penny coins vary in value across general conditions and mint marks, and this 1943 steel penny is no different. This guide highlights the different kinds of 1943 and just how much they are worth.

1943 No Mint Mark Steel Penny 

1943 No Mint Mark Steel Penny 


  • Type: Lincoln Wheat Penny
  • Edge: Plain
  • Mint Mark: none
  • Place of Mint: Philadelphia
  • Year of Minting: 1943
  • Face Value: 1 cent 
  • Dollar Price:  $0.17 – $9.35
  • Melt Value: $0.0006
  • Quantity Produced:  684,628,670
  • Reverse Designer: Victor D.Brenner
  • Obverse Designer: Victor D.Brenner

The total number of coins minted is 684,628,670; the Philadelphia mint accounts for a large percentage of the 1943 Steel Pennies. Hence, they are valued as the lowest of the 1943 grade.

A fine-grade Philadelphia mint state (MS-60)coin can sell for $0.35. An extremely fine mint costs $0.46, while an uncirculated mint might cost $9.35.

A sure-fire way to distinguish the 1943 Philadelphia steel penny from its counterpart is the absence of its mint mark. To spot a Philadelphia steel penny, you’d want to look just directly under the year of mint. Finally, in January 2010, an AU58 no-mint mark steel penny sold for $218,500 on heritage auctions.

1943 “D” Mint Mark Steel Penny

1943 “D” Mint Mark Steel Penny

  • Type: Lincoln Wheat Penny
  • Edge: Plain
  • Mint Mark: D
  • Place of Mint: Denver
  • Year of Minting: 1943
  • Face Value: 1 cent 
  • Dollar Price:  $0.23 – $11
  • Melt Value: $0.0006
  • Quantity Produced: 217,660,000
  • Reverse Designer: Victor D.Brenner
  • Obverse Designer: Victor D.Brenner

Where the Philadelphia mint penny comes without a mint mark and the largest number in the way of mintage, the Denver mint coins with a “D” mint mark account for 217,660,000 of the total mintage.

 At the lowest grade, the Denver-produced coins sell at $023. A 1943 D steel penny graded as very good might go for  $0.57, while the uncirculated mint is valued at  $11. On eBay, an MS68+ grade D mint mark steel penny sold for $14,249.99. 

Also produced in the Denver mint is the doubled mint mark “D” 1943 penny; these error coins are valued at $1161 for those still in mint condition.

1943 “S” Mint Mark Steel Penny

1943 “S” Mint Mark Steel Penny

  • Type: Lincoln Wheat Penny
  • Edge: Plain
  • Mint Mark: S
  • Place of Mint: San Francisco
  • Year of Minting: 1943
  • Face Value: 1 cent 
  • Dollar Price:  $0.28 – $23
  • Melt Value: $0.0006
  • Quantity Produced: 191,550,000
  • Reverse Designer: Victor D.Brenner
  • Obverse Designer: Victor D.Brenner

The San Francisco mint recorded the lowest number of steel pennies minted in 1943; hence, steel pennies from this mint are the most valuable of all coins at the three Mints. It’s no wonder an AU58 S mint mark 1943 steel penny has an auction record of $138,000. These pennies are valued at $0.28 at the lowest grade and $23 at the highest.

Also Read: Top 20 Most Valuable Old Pennies Worth Money (Penny Collection)

1943 Lincoln Wheat Penny History

Then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued the Lincoln Wheat Penny to commemorate the birth of Abraham Lincoln in the year 1908. Like all wheat pennies, the 1943 penny was designed by Victor D. Brenner.

However, the 1943 Lincoln steel Penny has a more unusual history than its other wheat penny counterparts. In 1941, the United States intervened in the second world war, offering more than the usual land lease and military aid to the Allies; The United States invested its copper and Nickel in the armory, ultimately cutting the supplies of mints nationwide.

In the following months, the US congress would consider Jeffrey Nickel and Lincoln cent temporary choices. This made them the very first coins to be made from steel.

The Philadelphia mint documented the largest number of coins, producing 684,628 670 pieces. The Denver mint struck 217,660,000 coins, and the San Francisco minted 191,550,000 cents. 

The general public, however, was not exactly enthusiastic about the new Lincoln wheat pennies. Vending machines were soon noticed to pick up steel cents instead of steel slugs. 

The Lincoln Wheat Penny was also noted to wear quickly and, after going in through many hands, become rusted. Besides being wear-prone and quick to rust, the 1943 Lincoln Wheat Penny sometimes needed clarification with the dime of the same color, causing traders to lose up to 9 cents.

Although the 1943 Lincoln Wheat penny is one of the most coveted coins in American coinage history,  It is, in itself, not valuable; composed of steel with a thin coating of zinc, the Lincoln Wheat Penny was perceived as a cheaper alternative to the bronze wheat penny pre-war mix. 

Collectors have identified a  strong link between the 1943 steel penny value and war sentiments, making the 1943 steel penny quite valuable.

Following the public outcry, the government eventually ceased the issuance of zinc-coated steel in 1944, reverting to its original copper and tin composition. The United States was still invested in the war; they collected metals from their training areas.

1943 Steel Penny Grading

Like all other antique coins, the 1943 steel penny does not have a scientific means of measurement. Instead, Overseeing bodies have curated several standardized rules to help hobbyists and seasoned collectors accurately grade their 1943 steel penny. Check out the link below to learn more

List of 1943 Steel Penny Error

While the 1943 steel penny is admittedly a collector’s envy, the 1943 error steel pennies are considered an even more significant find. This section highlights the many types of errors and how much they cost.

1. 1943 Steel Penny D over D Error

1943 Steel Penny D over D Error

The Denver mint saw its fair share of errors, with the steel penny D over D error being just one of the many. These errors were produced when artisans impressed the mint letter twice over where the mint mark ought to be. You might spot the faint “D” impression underneath the “D” mark. However, it is a lot easier to identify with a magnifying glass. 

Like all other coins, this error penny’s value varies across coin conditions and quality. An MS 76 sells for at least $10,200, and an MS 65 is valued at $1,161.

2. 1943 Steel Penny Wrong Coating

In the face of the war, Congress debated the suitable substitute for copper pennies, experimenting with various metals. Zinc was eventually decided upon. However, this did not preclude human error.

This resulted in a 1943 coin coated in bronze. Owing to its fantastic condition and coin quality, a bronze-coated penny was noted to sell at a whopping one million dollars in 2010.

3. 1943 Steel Penny Repunched Mark (S)

1943 Steel Penny Repunched Mark (S)


Although this error might be hard to spot with the naked eye, it is usually generated when the punch strikes the field two or more times beneath the date. The die creates more than one impression with the letter punch. At an MS 66, the 1943 steel penny is valued at $475.

4. 1943 Steel Penny Double Die 

1943 Steel Penny Double Die 

While an uncirculated copy of this coin may fetch you a pretty penny, a mint state penny is not entirely without value either. They could rake in anything from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. 

1943 Steel Penny FAQ

How Much Is a Steel 1943 Penny Worth?

Depending on the condition of a coin, a coin might go for about a million dollars. In very fine condition, the 1943 “S” and “D” penny might go for anything between $0.40 to $0.46, while the Philadelphia mint penny goes for $0.37. 

Rare mints rake in even higher sums, with an uncirculated Double “D” error coin going for an impressive $1,161. 

How Do I Know if My 1943 Steel Penny Is Rare?

Although still a collectible, the 1943 steel penny is, in fact, pretty common. They can, at best, fetch you a couple of dollars. However, error pennies are considered more valuable, with the 1943 bronze-coating steel error penny going for thousands of dollars. 

Error pennies are rare, but you might own a copy of one. In looking out for rare pennies, you must ensure your coin has one of the four errors.

A good start would be to check the mint mark of your Denver mint for double “D” errors. Using a magnifying glass, look for the re-punched mark error on your San Francisco.

What 1943 Steel Penny Is Worth $1,000,000?

In September 2012, Numismatics recorded the largest monies paid for the finest known 1943 S penny. The cent was an error coin bronze planchet produced when the American coinage system had resolved to revert to steel. However, the bronze was struck, resulting in the 1943-bronze error coin.

The coin sold at a million dollars to collector and co-chairman of the Texas Rangers baseball club, Bob R Simpson.

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