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1944-D Steel-Planchet Cent, MS63
Famous Year-Too-Late Off-Metal Error

1944-D 1C On Steel Planchet MS63 PCGS Secure. The one-year changeover in the cent alloy from copper-based to steel in 1943 created wrong-metal errors coming and going. The 1943 bronze cents (or "copper pennies" as they often were called in the mass media) were the first part of the holdover-metal error class, while the 1944-dated steel cents were the second.

The 1944-dated steel cents are less celebrated than their 1943 bronze counterparts, but they are also more available to collectors in both quantity and price. (The 1944 Philadelphia steel cents have a few dozen coins known, while PCGS puts the surviving population of 1944-D steel cents at seven pieces.) Heritage's Permanent Auction Archives show examples of steel cents selling for four-figure sums in the 1990s and early 2000s, and even Heritage's most recent offering of a 1944-D steel cent, a damaged AU Details example offered January 2012, brought $10,350. These figures are far below the prices 1943-dated bronze cents can command.

At the higher end of the grading scale, of course, prices escalate. Heritage's offering of a 1944-D steel cent graded MS63 by NGC in August 2007 realized $115,000, a noteworthy six-figure sum. This MS63 PCGS Secure example is the current finest coin in the combined NGC and PCGS certified population, as NGC no longer registers the MS63 coin mentioned above, yet this example is not a plate-match to the MS63 NGC coin.

This piece was struck from significantly eroded dies on both sides, more so on the obverse, where a die crack passes just under Lincoln's hairline. A toning spot appears between the rim and the right side of the portrait's rounded truncation, while the overall color is pale blue-steel. To the unaided eye, this piece appears better than MS63, but an old pinscratch from Lincoln's temple diagonally down to his neck precludes any status better than its Select designation. (NGC ID# 22ED, PCGS# 82725)

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Auction Dates
August, 2013
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 11
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