Lincoln Cents Off-Metal Strikes, Circulation Strikes (1943-1944)
In 1943, the U.S. Mint began using steel blanks for the Cents in an effort to conserve copper for use in World War II. Over a billion "Steelies" (as they are known popularly) were struck by the three Mints combined in 1943; Philadelphia alone produced over 684,000,000 examples. However, a handful of rare 1943 Cents have been discovered struck in error on old-style, bronze blanks. Presumably, the error occurred when left-over bronze planchets were mixed with a batch of the new Steel planchets, went through the usual striking methods, then escaped into circulation, bypassing the quality control procedures at the Mint. Today, 1943 Cents on Bronze Planchets rank among the most desirable and valuable of all Mint Errors with only about a dozen examples known.
In 1944, the composition of the cent was changed to "shell case bronze" which was made from recycled shell cases. However some of the steel planchets from 1943 were minted in error with the 1944 dies. Although not as rare as the 1943 bronze cents, it is estimated that only 75 of the 1944 "steelies" exist.
Notes: This set has bonuses. Please see the Set Composition for a listing.