US Coins

Market Analysis: 1944 cents struck on wrong planchets

Several 1944 Lincoln, Wheat cents accidentally struck on left over zinc-plated steel planchets were offered in 2023: an NGC AU Details, Reverse Scratched 1944 zinc-coated steel cent sold for $11,100, while an NGC AU Details, Cleaned 1944-D example realized $21,600.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Some of the most coveted 20th century coins are the handful of 1943 Lincoln, Wheat cents struck on bronze planchets intended for use in 1942 or 1944. Alternately, some 1944 cents were accidentally struck on the zinc-coated steel planchets.

Among the most budget-friendly examples in recent offerings was a 1944 cent struck on a zinc planchet graded by Numismatic Guaranty Co. as About Uncirculated Details, Reverse Scratched that sold for $11,100 on Nov. 16, 2023. PCGS estimates that 25 to 30 1944 steel cents exist. Some collectors want three — one representing each of the three Mints that struck cents that year: Philadelphia (no Mint mark), Denver (D), and San Francisco (S), the rarest of the trio with just two known.

A 1944-D cent struck on a zinc planchet graded NGC AU Details, Cleaned, realized $21,600 in the same November auction, and Heritage wrote, “The present silver-gray example is subdued but sharply detailed and spot-free.”

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