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P.O. Box 2
Roseville, MI 48066-0002
Executive Currency - Offering Rare Paper Money for the Connoisseur

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pieces of ubiquitous numismatic appeal

the fabric of legends



and  the



"trophies  of  the  highest  caliber"

Every collector creates a mental checklist of fantasy items--trophies so rare that despite the financial success of the individual, obtaining one carries far greater value than the money spent to acquire it.  The realization of the fantasy dwarfs the cost of ownership.  Among those who aspire to possess the finest in United States numismatics, a genuine example of the fabled




often rests alone at the apex of the pinnacle;


a single tier below that is the


“STEEL”  or  “ZINC” 



1943  COPPER  or  BRONZE  CENT. 

A rarity of the highest caliber, with unequivocal authentication.  Less than a dozen examples are believed known, with six from the San Francisco mint, and a lone example bearing a “D” mintmark (presumed) intentionally struck under clandestine circumstances. It appeared in the estate of a woman who dated John R. Sinnock—Chief Engraver for the United Sates Mint in the 1940s—when both lived in the small community of North Tonawanda NY. 

The museum-worthy showpiece offered herein demonstrates pleasing golden-brown surfaces interrupted by “test cuts.”  As the 1943 Copper cent became an immediate sensation upon discovery—and today holds the lofty position of number 8 out of the top 100 coins—crooks immediately began to attempt to capitalize with nefarious methods designed to fool the collecting community.  Among the earliest methods was also the most easily detectable.  Plating a normal 1943 steel cent with copper produced a visually compelling fake.  As very few people had access to equipment to perform specific gravity tests and many were unaware that only steel (not copper)  sticks to a magnet, a pocket knife became the diagnostic tool of choice.  Cutting deeply into the coin would reveal the inner core—whether of copper or bronze origin.




1943 1C -- Struck on a Copper Planchet -- PCGS Genuine. The present piece can best be described as having the details of EXTREMELY FINE, which has been scratched. Scratches are present above LIBERTY, near the T in CENT, and beneath the IBU in PLURIBUS, but the most noticeable mark is a deep horizontal test scratch from Lincoln's cheek to the back of his head. These marks were undoubtedly made by an incredulous finder expecting to uncover the steel interior usual for a 1943 cent. The golden-brown surfaces also have a trivial rim nick at 2:30 on each side. Accompanying the lot is a 1970s vintage Fort Wayne, Indiana, newspaper feature story on the present cent, and a May 10, 1982, Professional Numismatics Guild certificate of title.

The “test marks” have long permitted accurate identification of this particular specimen.  Such marks can be professionally smoothed and the coin re-slabbed, should a future owner desire. However, we find the cuts to lend a unique character to the coin and a reflection of days before third party grading (or the knowledge of a magnet) would have yielded the correct diagnosis without disturbing the surface.


1944  STEEL  or  ZINC  CENT. 


“The story behind the creation of the 1943 copper cents has been told and retold in numismatic circles since the discovery specimen was reported in the June, 1947 edition of The Numismatist. Leftover copper blanks from 1942 found their way into the coinage presses and were struck with 1943-dated dies. Recent years have also seen heightened public interest in these pieces, with national coverage often resulting in temporary elation and dashed hopes.

Less well known among the non-collecting public are the equally as fascinating 1944 steel cents. The 1944 steel cents probably owe their existence to a few leftover steel planchets that were accidentally struck early in the year. Rather than waste the numerous steel planchets that remained unused at the end of 1943, the Philadelphia Mint pressed them into service the following year to produce 25 million two franc coins for liberated Belgium. Given the poor quality control that characterized the wartime Philadelphia Mint, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that some of these planchets found their way into a tote filled with cent planchets. Once struck, most of these coins were probably released in original mint-sewn bags.

Richard Fenton discovered the first 1944 steel cent in circulation in 1945. Another example was reported in 1959 by W. H. Smith of Fayetteville, Ohio.

In his 1996 book The Complete Guide to Lincoln Cents, David W. Lange gives an estimate of the number of 1944 steel cents confirmed as genuine: 27 P-mint examples; seven (perhaps as high as 10) D-mint examples; and a single S-mint coin. The Philadelphia and Denver coins are less rare than their 1943 copper counterparts, but the 1944-S steel cent is the rarest of the 1943-1944 off-metal error cents. The finest known P-mint steel cent was once the property of Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock, designer of the Roosevelt dime and Franklin half dollar. He passed this coin, as well as a 1943 copper cent that he had also acquired, to an anonymous female acquaintance, who in turn sold both examples to dealer William Grichin. The coins then passed through the hands of Harry J. Forman and John J. Ford.” (From HA.com, lot 5492, February, 2001 Long Beach Signature Sale)


1944 1C -- Struck on a Steel Planchet -- PCGS Genuine. The present piece can best be described as having the details of EXTREMELY FINE, which has received some environmental damage.  Still, the lightly granular surfaces are entirely consistent with original circulated steel cents.  The weight of 2.7 grams, as reported on the PCGS insert, is precisely identical to the standard weight for the steel cents from the previous year.



Clearly a landmark opportunity for a collector who has already enjoyed tremendous success in other arenas and is now ready to simultaneously fulfill a childhood dream and catapult his or her collection into the stratosphere.

Extensive research suggests that examples of these two iconic errors have never been offered together publicly.

While some might argue that the coins are priced a bit aggressively in the current marketplace, we challenge those critics to offer another pair for sale. 

For additional information, please telephone Frederick J. Bart at 586.979.3400 or contact us via email at Bart@ExecutiveCurrency.com





Terms and Conditions of Sale

[1] The original purchaser may exercise a seven day, no-questions-asked return privilege providing the item is returned in the same condition as sold. Any evidence of tampering of the coin’s “slab” holder, even if such evidence is not visible to the unaided eye but, shows upon magnification or microcopy shall negate any return privilege.

 [2] The buyer should consult the published guarantees/warranties of each third-party grading service and rely solely on those for claims after the seven day return privilege extended by ExecutiveCurrency.com

[3] Any request for variance to these Terms and Conditions must be executed in writing before a sale.