Q:

How do you tell if a 1943 steel penny is truly uncirculated or reprocessed?

A:

Quick Answer

An uncirculated 1943 steel wheat penny generally appears in excellent condition with no wear, with only a few scuffs or dings caused by contact with other coins in a bank bag, and a highly polished surface. Though minor hairline scuff or dents affect the value of an uncirculated coin, obviously cleaned coins display circular wear marks from rubbing, damaged luster from chemical dips or abrasives and a severely reduced value.

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Full Answer

An expert coin collector or reseller can examine a coin and indicate definitively whether or not it has been improperly cleaned or is in uncirculated or mint condition. Coins intended for collection or sale must never be cleaned, except by an expert, because improper cleaning can reduce the value of a coin by 50 percent. The 1943 steel penny was made of a steel core covered with zinc to give it a more silvery appearance. Though 1943 was the only year the steel wheat penny was produced, due to the diversion of copper into the war effort, this coin is not rare. Because it was unusual, people hoarded large numbers of these coins, leaving many uncirculated and excellent-condition coins available. As of 2014, a poor condition coin can be worth 45 cents while an uncirculated coin in perfect condition can be worth up to $12, according to CoinTrackers.com.

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