Lincoln Cent,1943 Zinc-Coated Steel.

USA.1943.Lincoln Cent.Zinc-Coated Steel.Obverse.
(Dickson Niew Collection)

USA.1943.Lincoln Cent.
Zinc-Coated Steel.Reverse.
(Dickson Niew Collection)
From 1909 to 1942,the Lincoln Cent was bronze.It was manufactured from .950 copper and .050 tin and zinc.

USA.1943.Philadelphia Mint.
(Dickson Niew Collection)
With the US entry into World War II in 1941,copper and tin,which were both used in the Lincoln Cent,were in short supply.On December 18,1942 ,Congress gave the mint authorization to change the composition of the cent for a three year period.Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau announced the coin would be made out of zinc-coated steel.

USA.1943.San Francisco Mint.
(Dickson Niew Collection)
In 1943,at the peak of World War II,production of Lincoln Cent of zinc-coated steel, weighed 2.70gm., commenced on February 27 1943,and by December 31 of that year,three Mint facilities had produced 1,093,838,670 pieces of the steel coins.Low-grade carbon steel formed the base of these coins,to which a zinc coating 0.127mm thick was deposited on each side electrolytically as a rust preventive.
Unfortunately,this coating was applied to the steel before the blanks were made leaving the rims of these coins extremely susceptible to rust.The public soon complained that the new coins were becoming spotted and stained.Another common complaint was they could be mistaken for dimes,led to a change in composition in 1947.

USA.1943.Denver Mint.
(Dickson Niew collection)
The steel cent is the only regular-issue United States coin that can be picked up with a magnet. The steel cent was also the only coin issued by the United States for circulation that does not contain any copper.


  1. Hi Dickson,
    Nice article on US wheat pennies.
    We found a number of Canada KGVI and QEII 5cents coins were also susceptible to this form of rusting too.
    Thanks a lot for sharing :)

  2. Dear whycollect,Goodday!I wonder why the US Mints doesn't realized that the coating was applied to the steel before the blanks were punched out from the strip and leaving the rims of these coins naked!
    Thany you.