US Coins

When a 1943 5-cent is struck on a steel cent planchet

This World War II era 1943-S Jefferson 5-cent piece struck on a planchet likely intended for a 1943 Lincoln zinc-coated steel cent brought $646.25 at Stack’s Bowers’ June 27, 2014, Baltimore auction.

Original image courtesy of Stack's Bowers.

Many collectors love striking and planchet error coins because each one is unique and they are dramatic examples of what happens when things go wrong in coin production. These are pieces whose errors are the result of problems occurring during the striking phase.

Error coins are graded on the same scale as “normal” U.S. coins, and their pricing structure is based on quality, rarity, and demand, as is the case with all collectibles. 

Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ auctions associated with the Baltimore Expo, held at the Baltimore Convention Center June 26 to 29, carried many of the rarities normally associated with a major auction. It also had a few spectacular error coins.

Here is one of three that we're profiling in this week's Market Analysis:

The Lot:

1943-S Jefferson 5-cent piece struck on a steel cent planchet, Uncirculated Details, Cleaned

The Price:


The Story:

The U.S. Mint experimented with new compositions for World War II. Perhaps the most widely-known example today is the 1943 Lincoln zinc-coated steel cent that was struck only in that year as a way to conserve copper for the war effort.

1943 Lincoln cents struck on copper planchets are legendary rarities in American numismatics, and 1944 Lincoln cents struck on zinc-plated steel planchets are also very valuable. Branching out to other off-metal errors of the World War II era provides affordable alternatives. 

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This 1943-S Jefferson 5-cent coin struck on a zinc-coated steel cent planchet intended for a 1943 cent brought $646.25. The piece is graded by PCGS as Uncirculated Details, Cleaned, and the lot description notes that the cleaning “seems to have been done in an effort to remove coppery surface scale that is still evident over the lower right obverse, as commonly seen on the regular issue 1943 Steel cent coins today.” 

The edges are distended as is typical for Jefferson 5-cent coins struck on cent planchets since, at 19 millimeters, a cent planchet is 2.1 millimeters smaller than a 5-cent planchet.

Read the rest of Steve Roach's Market Analysis:

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