You Could Have A Rare Penny Worth Thousands—Or Even Millions—Of Dollars In Your Wallet

Check your change!

Do you have a penny collection somewhere in your house? Before you cash them in, you might want to see if you have a 1943 penny.

If you have a rare version of this coin, you might have something that could be worth thousands of dollars. This isn’t just any 1943 penny, though. It is a copper penny that slipped through the cracks and made history.

A Mint Mistake

pennies photo
Getty Images | Tim Boyle

Before 1982, the U.S. Mint stamped pennies from primarily copper. Eventually, this cost the government too much money to produce. So, they switched to mostly materials such as zinc to save some money.

However, in 1943, the government stopped making copper pennies. The U.S. was fighting in World War II at the time and, because of the war, demand for copper was high. Therefore, the U.S. Mint decided to use steel to strike the new pennies.

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Still, coin collectors believe a few copper and even bronze pennies managed to slip into circulation during 1943. Collectors from as far back as 1960 started questioning the origin of these coins. At the time, the U.S. Mint denied their existence.