Skip to main content
Go to accessibility options


    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

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

    Sold on Jun 17, 2021 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 35 days left to consign to the 2022 February 17 - 20 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature® Auction - Long Beach!

    Learn about consigning with us

    I want to thank you and Heritage for the services provided above and beyond those one would expect from an auction house.
    [ Entire Letter » ]
    Larry A. Moody, Senior Internal Auditor, University of Alabama,
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search