Steel Pennies – Wartime U.S Pennies (Non Copper)

In the year 1943, USA decided to stop the production of copper pennies because they needed copper at that time due to the materials needed for the war.  In exchange to the usual copper penny, the country decided to produce coins that were made out of steel. It was plated with zinc to make it look shiny on the outside.

Steel Pennies

Steel Pennies

Even though the history regarding the steel penny is interesting, it does not have much value because it is still a very common coin, over a billion coins were issued and most are worth a few cents each.  Some of the un-circulated ones can sell for a few dollars. The rare penny that most coin collectors would want to have been also produced in the year 1943 and it’s funny because that penny was created by mistake. That is the 1943 copper penny.

Just recently, a rare 1943 copper penny was auctioned for a million dollars, which is, of course, a staggering amount of money for most people. The reason why this particular penny has been sold for a million dollars is because it is so very rare. So many of the fakes can be found in different states so finding a genuine one can be very heart racing and exciting.

The penny is very much sought after now because of the error and only a few were produced and circulated which makes it even more desirable for coin collectors all over the world. There have already been a lot of people who have tried to make money by counterfeiting coins. The reason why this is still ongoing is because there are people who actually buy the fake coins because they think that the coins are authentic. Do not be swayed by the words of people who are selling hard to find coins especially if you do not know them that well. Here are some tips that you can follow so that you will not be fooled:

•    ●    A 1943 copper penny is of course the color of copper and some people immediately buy a coin when they see that the color is not the same with the usual 1943 steel penny. However, scammers usually just dip the coins in copper to lure people into purchasing them. To test if the coin is authentic, it will help if you have a magnet with you. If it is truly made out of copper, it will not stick to the magnet. If it does, it is simply a copper plated coin which does not cost much at all.
•    ●    Before you purchase a copper penny that does not stick to the magnet, it would be wise to check out the date of the coin first. Most counterfeiters make the 3 from the half of 8. Look at the date closely and you would be able to make out if it is truly 3 or just the half of 8. If it is the half of 8, it is not an authentic 1943 copper penny.

People would always like to think of ways to make more money or just to know if they own a very significant item. If you think you might have a coin of value, you can always look for a very reputable coin dealer or a shop that can help you appraise the real value of your coin. Most honest coin dealers would look at the value of your coin for free and would give you an idea about how much your coin is truly worth.

In order to look for a reputable coin dealer, it would be a great idea to find someone who has a good reputation and is well respected by his peers. There are some people who would pretend to be coin dealers and have recently opened up a gold buying and coin shop due to the recent boom in gold prices. Many have done this just to capitalize on recent trends in gold and silver prices and most of these people should not be trusted.

Remember that a reputable coin dealer is usually one who has had a long established business in the area. The local reputation of an experienced coin dealer would also tell a lot about how he has dealt with people.   Check the reviews, if any, to see what some past customers have said about the business.  The best thing to look for when you are searching for a coin dealer is that your dealer should be fair and honest. He does not simply think about how much of a profit he or she is going to make, but, rather, they are honest about the true value of coins and is there to serve his customers in the best way possible.  This has always been the case at American Coin & Stamp Co. Inc. here in Clifton, New Jersey.

Should I clean my coins?

Many people just getting into coin collecting ask the question, “Should I clean my coins before taking them in for an appraisal with a coin dealer?” Whether or not you should clean your coin depends on what kind of coin you have. A collectible coin is one whose intrinsic value is worth far more than that of its “spot price”. The spot price is simply the value of the weight of the coin and a value which fluctuates with the market price of the metal. An example of coins whose value is that of its spot price is junk-silver coinage such as Franklin and Kennedy half dollars or Roosevelt dimes (1946-1964).  While most of these coins are not collectible, they have a certain melt value, which is based on the composition of silver and the spot price at the time of sale.

old coin

Cleaning your old coins could cost you

If you really want to clean your minted gold or silver coins, I highly recommend you do not do so, as this will lower the coins value.  However, if you think you have a rare or collectible coin and you are not a professional, then the unanimous rule of thumb is: for the love of the coin and all that it is worth, do not clean it yourself!  Leave that to the professional coin dealer’s discretion.
As Americans, we tend to like our stuff bright and shiny clean because – let’s face it – in general things that are clean, bright, and shiny just look prettier. However when it comes to collectible coins, you should think again before trying to get them into what you consider to be perfectly presentable condition because doing so can substantially reduce the value the value of the coin. What do we mean by substantially? Well, we heard one story from a dealer who received a phone call from a gentleman in possession of a rare coin which should have been worth about $20,000. Sadly, for both the dealer and the seller, the man decided to clean the coin before he brought it in for the dealer’s appraisal. Close your eyes for a moment and take a wild guess at how much you think that deed of good intention reduced the coin’s value. Would you believe that one simple act of cleaning a coin reduced its value from $20,000 all the way down to $1300?
Let us all wipe that tragedy from our memories and learn from someone else’s mistake!
Rather than chastise you for even thinking about cleaning your collectible coins, let’s talk about why you shouldn’t do it. First of all, coin collectors have a bit of a nostalgic thing for wanting to see an old coin in its original condition – dirt, grit, grime, and all. Collectors see things with a very different eye than most people. A coin’s perceived flaw may be exactly the thing that gives the coin its value. In addition to that, a professional collector or dealer knows exactly what should and should not be removed from a collectible coin; and, if it does need cleaning, knows how to do it without damaging the coin.
Another reason you should not clean your collectible coins is because many cleaning agents – especially those people tend to use for cleaning metals, such as Brasso or other polishers – contain abrasives and abrasives cause value-reducing micro-scratches. Even trying to polish a gold coin with an apparently soft cloth can scratch it. Remember: gold is a soft metal and as such, it can easily be damaged by rubbing or scrubbing. If you are planning to keep your coins and you want them to be in the best possible condition for maintaining their value, then you should play it safe and take them to a professional. Taking them a professional will ensure your coins are properly cleaned and ready for safe storage.

How To Avoid Buying Counterfeit Coins

It is important for the new or novice coin collector to be aware of the possibility of mistakenly buying a counterfeit coin.  There are always counterfeit coins posing as the real thing that are being sold all over the world to unsuspecting coin collectors who mistake them for the genuine rare coins that they presume they are buying.

Recent reports say that there are over a million different types of counterfeit coins that have been sold that are made overseas.  Some of these are sold as “replicas” and others are just passed off to customers as authentic rare coins they are supposed to be.  It is very important that any coin buyer become a quick study of coin collecting as the price difference between a fake and an original can be huge and quite costly to the poor collector who gets suckered into the purchase of a fake rare coin.

Hobby periodicals report that more than a million counterfeit coins manufactured in China have been fraudulently sold in the United States posing a significant financial risk for unsuspecting consumers. Buyer beware! Consumers who buy an item based only on its perceived rarity and who have no knowledge as to how to determine whether the coin is genuine subject themselves to great risk of losing their money.
The American Numismatic Association (ANA), the Industry Council for Tangible Assets (ICTA), Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), Professional Coin Grading Service ( and the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) urge consumers to educate themselves before making purchases: know what you are buying and purchase only from reputable, experienced rare coin dealers (professional numismatists).
Read more from the source here

The sale of coins that are replicas and are unmarked, as such, is illegal in the U.S. and is a violation of federal law in America.  The U.S. Hobby Protection Act requires that all manufacturers and importers of imitation numismatic coins be clearly marked with the word “copy” in accordance with the Code Of Federal Regulations.  Unfortunately, there are still hundreds, if not, thousands of such coins being passed off as originals, many of them coming from China and elsewhere.

We urge all of those who are interested in purchasing numismatic coins and rare coins to educate themselves and to use some common sense when making a purchase.  Beware of online auctions, as they are good places to be ripped off.  It’s better to go into a coin store and visit a local rare coin dealer in your area and to do business with a reputable business who has been around for a while.  In New Jersey, one such place is American Coin & Stamp Co., which has been around since the 1950s and has an excellent reputation for good and honest service, fair pricing and good customer relations.

Here are some additional tips concerning making a purchase of a collectible coin and avoiding buying a counterfeit rare coin from

•    Compare the sale coin with an authentic coin. Fake coins will usually exhibit slight differences in color, texture, thickness or weight when compared side-by-side to originals.
•    Zero in on design details. Get to know the piece you are looking to purchase as intimately as possible. Remember unique die characteristics of an authentic coin when considering the piece in question.
•    If you have any question at all on the piece you wish to purchase, consider buying a certified coin that has already been authenticated by a third party.

See the original story here

So, just be aware of the risks and act accordingly with some common sense and some understanding of the risks associated with dealing with unknown sellers and online sales and auctions.  Do a little research and purchase wisely.  A little knowledge goes a long way, when buying rare coins.

Striking it rich with your pocket change

If you look hard enough and have the right information at hand about what coins are rare and collectible, you can strike it rich, as they say.  That is what a recent article had to say about a coin collector that wishes to remain anonymous, who had found a very rare 1983 copper-alloy cent.

The woman said that she found this coin after purchasing a book called “Strike it rich with pocket change” that was co-authored by Ken Potter and Brian Allen.  She found the rare copper one cent coin after reading the author’s account of how a man named Billy Crawford of South Carolina found one of these.  He had separated all of his pennies from 1983 and began looking for a double die coin and other types.  During his search for something else, he stumbled onto his find.

The cents struck from 1963 through about mid 1982 are of a solid brass composition made up of 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc. They weigh 3.11 grams. The cents struck from about mid 1982 to date are struck on planchets made up of a solid zinc core (with a trace of copper) that are barrel plated with pure copper and weigh 2.5 grams.

Crawford hoped that his efforts would result in him finding a transitional error of a 1983 cent struck on a planchet left over from the early part of 1982 before the copper plated zinc cents were introduced later in that same year.


Eventually he found one and we detailed his story on the find on Page 64 of the second edition and on Page 75 in the third edition of our book.

In our book we placed a possible value of $15,000 on an AU/Unc. example but it was just a guess. The owner now has this coin slated for sale in an upcoming Heritage auction, so we’ll see how this one goes and report on the result.

This story has been unfolding for a while. The finder of this second example first contacted me Aug. 6, 2010


Read more from the original article here

So, if you are a collector and are willing to spend the time searching and sorting through your pocket change and perhaps some coin rolls, you could possibly be the next lucky person to find a coin that has substantial collector value.  As the author stated in the conclusion of the article, it will definitely repay the owner many times over for the cost of the book.  Pick yourself up a copy of this book and you may never look at pocket change the same way again.