GreatCollections is currently offering collectors the opportunity to purchase a superb example of the 1943-D steel cent. Graded PCGS MS 68 with a CAC sticker, this coin represents the penultimate census grade, with only 12 examples certified higher (MS 68+). As these numbers may be due to inevitable resubmissions, this coin is quite desirable. Additionally, this coin is pedigreed to the famous Red Copper Collection.
Interested bidders should note that this lot closes on Sunday, January 29, 2023, at 4:34:15 PM Pacific Time (7:34:15 PM Eastern). At the time of publication, the highest of 17 bids stands at $1,161 USD with 19 days remaining for additional bidding.
Due either to wartime necessity or an attempt to increase public commitment to the war effort, the United States Mint shifted the cent away from the standard bronze planchet to a new, lighter, zinc-coated steel version. Regardless of the motivation, this move saved large quantities of valuable war materiel: a combined 8,094 tons of copper and 100,000 pounds of tin across all Mint facilities.
As these steel cents made their way into circulation, public skepticism began to increase. Of particular issue was the coin’s distinct resemblance to the silver dime, with some worried that unscrupulous individuals would attempt to pass off these new coins for their more valuable counterparts. Despite being “universally objectionable”, these coins were quickly hoarded by collectors. As a result, this coin survives in high numbers all the way through Gem Mint State–though they are quite scarce in MS 68. PCGS estimates that fewer than 200 MS 68 examples survive to this day.
With a mintage of 217,660,00 steel cents, these coins are quite common and can be obtained quite easily in most grades. However, while pieces graded MS 67 and below are worth at most $550, pieces in the highest grades can sell for much more. In fact, MS 68s have sold for $4,000 and above!
This particular example was part of “The Red Copper Collection of Lincoln Cents”, a collection compiled by numismatist Stewart Blay over 20 years of painstaking searching and ultimately buying only the finest examples. So fine was this collection that John Albanese, President of CAC, remarked “It is likely we will not see another Lincoln Cent collection of this caliber in the future.”
The coin currently on offer has an exceptionally sharp strike, with bold details and essentially flawless surfaces. There are basically no bag marks to distract from the coin’s satiny luster. As such, this coin belongs in a registry set of the highest quality and is evidence that production at the Denver Mint was generally better than production at either San Francisco or Philadelphia in 1943.
On the obverse, designer Victor David Brenner’s portrait of Abraham Lincoln depicts the president from the shoulder up. Lincoln is dressed in a period suit and is wearing a bow tie. At the top of the design, wrapping around the rim is the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST”. “LIBERTY” appears behind Lincoln’s neck, on the left side of the coin. The date appears slightly lower, in front of Lincoln’s portrait, on the coin’s right side.
This coin was struck at the Denver Mint, so there is a “D” mintmark beneath the date.
On the reverse, two sheaths of wheat wrap around the right and the left side of the coin. At the top of the design, the motto “E ·PLURIBUS · UNUM” wraps around the rim. ONE CENT is inscribed in large letters, sans serif, the bottom arm of the E extends beyond the arm at the top. The middle arm is recessed. Beneath, in the same font but in a smaller type, is the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
The edge of the cent is smooth or plain.
Bidding for this 1943-D steel cent ends on Sunday, January 29, 2023, at 4:34:15 PM Pacific Time (7:34:15 PM Eastern).
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