The 1943 bronze Lincoln cent is one of the most valuable and popular error coins ever to appear on the American numismatic scene. Capturing the imaginations of coin collectors for generations, this so-called transitional error happened when perhaps a couple dozen bronze Lincoln cent planchets from 1942 ended up on the presses and were stamped by 1943-dated dies intended for zinc-coated steel blanks.
Such off-metal transitional errors are not necessarily unheard of. They have happened many times throughout United States Mint history. But the Lincoln cent is certainly one of the most popular and widely collected coins, and this rarity is no slouch. This error was already worth thousands of dollars even in the 1950s, when news of this coin was making its rounds and even prompting non-collectors to check their change more carefully. Today, the few known 1943 bronze Lincoln cents typically fetch at least $100,000, and sometimes much more for specimens in top condition.
In early 2021, one specimen that had been located in the mid-1950s by a teenager named Marvin Wallace Beyer, Jr., hit the auction block after stints in various notable coin collections, including that of famed numismatist Bob R. Simpson. Graded by Professional Coin Grading Service as MS62BN, this coveted rarity was sold by Heritage Auctions on February 23, 2021, for a whopping $372,000!
*Images are courtesy of Heritage Auctions, www.HA.com.