1944 Steel's Blog

22 May 2023

US WWII Special Coin Issues

Coins-United States | 1944 Steel

US war issued coins

Steel cent

After the sneak attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941, the US enter World War II. One of the ideas were to create a cent with a non copper composition and save the copper for artillery shell. There were many coin designs that were issued and the US mint chose the steel cent which was zinc coated steel. This is a commonly misunderstood coin and people who find them think that they are worth thousands. Over 1.1 billion were made and saved the country lots of copper. This coin is worth less than a dollar in circulated condition. They were made only in 1943. 1944 steel cents are worth lots more. There is also the 1943-D boldly doubled cent which is worth $20. A cool coin to own would be the 1943 copper cent. Overall, steel cents are still a cool coin to collect especially in MS-60+ condition with original luster.

Shell Case cents

After the steel cent was made for a year. All the recycled artillery shell cases were melted down and turned into cents. From 1944-1946, these cents were made out of 95% copper and balance zinc. This also helped the United States recycle the copper and not waste any of it and also help the war effort. There are some very minor color differences between shell case cents and a normal wheat or copper cents. They are worth similar values as normal wheat cents.

War nickel

War nickels were made from 1942-1945 to save nickel for the war effort. The new nickel was made out of 35% silver and manganese and copper. This helped save nickel and copper. The mint mark was also moved to the top of the reverse and the P mint mark was for the first time put on a coin to distinguish it from a normal nickel. After the war, the US mint tried their best to get rid of them. But they can still be found in circulation. Some 1942 nickels were war nickels while others were normal nickels.

Reprocessed Cents

Reprocessed steel cents were made after people removed a thin layer of zinc and coat it again, it makes the coin look a lot more shinier but isn't worth as much as a normal steel MS-60 cent. Reprocessed steel cents tend to have a not natural color like blue or purple. They also lack some original mint luster and don't look natural.


"1943 1 Cent "Steel Cent" Reprocessed - Numista."Numista.com, Numista, 2013, en.numista.com/forum/topic66507.html. Accessed 22 May 2023.

‌"Steel Cents, Silver Nickels, and Invasion Notes: US Money in World War II | the National WWII Museum | New Orleans."The National WWII Museum | New Orleans, 4 Dec. 2020, www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/united-states-money-in-world-war-ii. Accessed 22 May 2023.

Joshua.Thefuntimesguide.com, 2023, coins.thefuntimesguide.com/shell-case-pennies/. Accessed 22 May 2023.

War, Jefferson. "4 SILVER Jefferson War Nickels 1 GEM Steel Cent 3 Unique War Pennies Lot of 8 | EBay."EBay, 2023, www.ebay.com/itm/314115931136. Accessed 22 May 2023.


I still like to tell people that the most expensive version of a 1943 one cent is the “normal” copper… wartime coinage is such a unique trove of seeming contradictions and odd trivia


Level 5

Nice blog. I like the sets and holders the coins come in. Welcome to the ANA site.

Kevin Leab

Level 4

Great blog!! Thank you for sharing that information!! I've been collecting since 1979 and this stuff still fascinates me. Welcome to the ANA!!


Level 6

Welcome to the ANA. Nice blog. Great history behind WWII coins.

It's Mokie

Level 6

Excellent summary. you probably already know that leftover steel planchets wre used to make Belgium 2 Franc coins in 1944. Thank You for joining us!!!!


Level 7

Good one I enjoyed it.I like the card. And I learned something today. After 30 years. And still learning. That's why we have to write and read them. Some seem to know everything about coins. I tell them try stamps. Again an interesting interesting blog. Keep up the good work.


Level 6

Excellent blog. I really like this card you have. This is how a blog is meant to be. Hey, is CONECA still giving YN's a free membership? The March-April issue of The Error Scope is all about steel cents. Thanks.

1944 Steel

Level 3

I just joined 5 days ago.

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