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    Description

    1944 Zinc-Coated Steel Cent, MS64
    Rare Transitional Alloy Error
    Tied for Finest Known

    1944 1C Struck on a Zinc-Coated Steel Planchet MS64 PCGS. The 1943 bronze cent is the most famous transitional alloy mint error in numismatics. Its successor, the 1944 steel cent, is also well-known and undeniably rare. PCGS estimates that only 25 to 30 examples are known. The zinc-coated steel alloy was in official use at the Philadelphia Mint during 1944, used to strike two franc pieces for Belgium (KM-133). This may explain why the 1944 steel cent is more collectible than the 1943 bronze cent, which has an estimate of 10 to 15 survivors.

    But whether a given steel planchet was intended for a 1943 Lincoln cent or a 1944 Belgian two franc, it was in the wrong place at the wrong time when struck by 1944 cent dies. The usual explanation is that a few steel cent planchets became lodged in a tote bin trap door, and were freed only when the bin was filled with bronze cent planchets.

    NGC has certified only four 1944 steel cents, all in AU grades. PCGS has graded ten examples, two in AU and eight in Mint State, but none finer than MS64. We can locate only a single price realized at the MS64 level, a PCGS CAC example that brought $158,625 as lot 4411 in an August 2013 Stack's Bowers sale.

    The present coin differs from that piece, and is also not the PCGS MS64 Bob Simpson specimen. The untoned surfaces are free from noticeable marks. The strike shows only slight blending of impression on Lincoln's jaw and cheekbone. Identifiers include a small gray freckle northeast of the second 4 in the date, and another freckle between the EN in CENT.

    The U.S. Mint would also strike a few transitional alloy errors in 1983, as the bronze alloy ceded to its copper-plated zinc successor. But those coins are less celebrated, and less coveted, than their predecessors struck during World War II. The winner of the present lot will possess an unsurpassed example of the rare 1944 zinc-coated steel cent. Population: 4 in 64, 0 finer (5/21).

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 22EB, PCGS# 82722)

    Weight: 2.70 grams

    Metal: 100% Zinc Coated Steel


    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2021
    17th-20th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 41
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,458

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