Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) has certified an extraordinary group of four 1942 and 1943 Lincoln Cents struck on the wrong planchets. Included in this group are two examples of the 1943 bronze (“copper”) cent, one of the most famous US error coins.
In 1943, the US Mint used zinc-coated steel for Lincoln Cents instead of the usual bronze (or “copper”) composition in an effort to preserve copper for the war effort. A small number of bronze planchets were nonetheless struck with these 1943-dated dies and escaped the Mint.
The 1943 bronze cents quickly piqued the interest of collectors, who were excited that something seemingly so mundane–a “copper” cent–could be so rare and valuable. Reports of finds in circulation added to the enthusiasm and high prices were soon reported.
This popularity has continued to the present day. In the 100 Greatest Mint Errors book, co-authored by NGC grading finalizer and error coin specialist David J. Camire, the Philadelphia 1943 bronze cent was ranked #4. It has been estimated that only 10-12 Philadelphia 1943 bronze cents exist, a figure that does not include the two specimens recently certified by NGC.
These two new discoveries were graded NGC MS 62 BN and NGC MS 61 BN. The former specimen, at MS 62 BN, ranks as the second-finest 1943 bronze cent certified by NGC. The latter is particularly interesting, however, because it is the only example known with a large die break on the obverse.
“1943 Lincoln cents struck on bronze planchets are one of the ‘Holy Grails’ of US numismatics,” says Camire. “It is very exciting to see two examples in a single submission, especially the unique example featuring the die break on the obverse.”
The submission of the two 1943 bronze cents also included two Lincoln cents struck on planchets intended to be used for foreign coins that were then being struck by the Philadelphia Mint. There was a 1942 cent struck on an Ecuador 20 Centavos planchet, which NGC graded MS 63, and a 1943 cent on a Netherlands 25 cent planchet that was graded NGC MS 61.
“It is extremely unusual to see wrong planchet error cents from this time period,” adds Camire. “Recent appearances of such errors are few and far between.”
This incredible group of coins was submitted to NGC by the family of former US Mint employee Albert Michael Pratt. The coins were brought to the West Hernando Coin Club coin show in January 2017 where they were shown to John A. Zieman Jr. of Z-man’s Coins, who submitted them to NGC on behalf of the family.
“NGC has a great reputation for being very consistent, has awesome customer service and very fast turnaround times. It was a no brainer that I submitted these coins to NGC,” says John Zieman. For more information about Z-man’s Coins, visit zmanscoins.com.
NGC-Certified 1982 Lincoln Cents Currently Available on eBay