US Coins

Jefferson 'nickel' struck with steel among popular wartime errors

A 1943-S Jefferson 5-cent piece struck on a steel planchet possibly intended for a 1943 Lincoln cent sold for $3,760 at a Jan. 30 Heritage auction.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions

Striking error coins look unusual and are the result of something going wrong during the minting process. They teach us about how coins are made, and error coins enjoy a dedicated following in our hobby. Each error is unique, and many are dramatically weird in appearance.

There are lots of ways to collect error coins. Some collectors elect to focus on a given error type, such as an off-center strike, while others collect a range of errors across a denomination or coin type.

Here is one of three pricey “nickels” Coin World is profiling in its latest Market Analysis that have traded at auction recently that represent the high-end of the market:

The Coin

1943-S Jefferson 5-cent coin struck on a steel planchet, AU-55

The Price


The Story

As World War II placed pressure on natural resources including metals, the U.S. Mint facilities were busy working with new compositions for the cent and 5-cent denominations.

In 1943 only, Lincoln cents were struck on zinc-coated steel planchets. 

This 1943-S Jefferson 5-cent coin is struck on a steel planchet perhaps intended for a 1943 Lincoln cent, although at 2.75 grams it is slightly heavier than the 2.7 grams that one would expect. 

Off-metal wartime error coins are tremendously popular with collectors, most notably the 1943 Lincoln cents on copper planchets and 1944 Lincoln cents on zinc-coated steel planchets. 

This one, graded About Uncirculated 55 by Professional Coin Grading Service, experienced some light circulation, but avoided intentional scratches or test cuts from those curious to learn more about this unusual coin. It sold for $3,760 at Heritage’s Jan. 30 Long Beach Expo auction.

Read the rest of this Market Analysis:

1943 Jefferson 'nickel' struck on steel planchet among popular wartime errors

'Double-Denomination' 5-cent coin/dime offers some intriguing number errors

Uniface Proof 65 5-cent errors are rarely seen by traders, collectors alike

More from

Book value of United States Treasury-owned gold tops $11 billion

Bowers: Kennedy half dollar came along amid circulating coin shortage in U.S.

Pogue Collection total prices realized could exceed $200 million by 2017

The Investment Column: Grading the grading services and the phenomenon of stickering slabs

Market Analysis: Recent price declines make popular classic commemorative series affordable

Keep up with all of's news and insights by signing up for our free eNewslettersliking us on Facebook, and following us on Twitter. We're also on Instagram!

Community Comments