Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    1944-S Zinc-Coated Steel Lincoln Cent, MS66
    Sole Mint State Example
    Highest-Graded 1944 'Steelie' From Any Mint

    1944-S 1C Struck on a Zinc-Coated Steel Planchet MS66 PCGS. CAC. Ex: Simpson. 2.6 gm. Large S. Among all steel cent error coins of 1944 struck at the three mints that were in operation at the time -- Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco -- this piece is the sole finest certified at PCGS and NGC, as well as the only Mint State example of the 1944-S "steelie" cent.

    The 1944 zinc-coated steel cents owe their creation to the dark days of World War II, when America and her allies needed strategic metals including copper and nickel for the war effort. The 1943 Lincoln cents were struck out of a catastrophically flawed combination of metals, namely steel coated with a thin layer of zinc.

    As any numismatist worth his salt knows, the zinc-coated steel cent planchets were magnetic. Not only did they develop rust and a powdery, mildewed appearance (zinc oxide) after a short time in circulation and in the presence of moisture -- they also did not function in the one cent gum-vending machines prevalent at the time, which used magnets to defeat steel blanks inserted as currency.

    The same shortage of materials that led to the striking of Lincoln cents from steel planchets in 1943 also applied to many other contemporaneous American goods. Sugar, coffee, butter, meat, gasoline, rubber, tires, shoes, metal appliances -- even silk and nylon stockings -- all these consumer goods were subject to rationing and/or recycling during the war to ensure that American men and women got "their fair share" while ensuring sufficient stockpiles for the war effort.

    The wartime silver Jefferson nickels struck in 1942-45 were another byproduct of the increased need for elemental nickel, another critical war material. (But the wartime silver-nickel composition nonetheless fared far better than the 1943 steel cent planchets.)

    The 1944 steel cents were off-metal errors apparently created via the same mechanism as the 1943 copper cents, when a smattering of leftover blank planchets from the previous year remained in Mint tote bins or hoppers as the new year turned. Although the 1943 copper cents have seen the lion's share of publicity over the years, the 1944 steel cents are nearly as rare but less well-known.

    The Philadelphia Mint in 1944 was also striking Belgian two franc coins (KM-133) on zinc-coated steel planchets (these were "blanks for 1943 cents" according to Krause-Mishler), but no such Belgian coins were struck at the Denver or San Francisco mints. The blanks for Belgium getting intermingled with the cent planchets may help explain why there are quite a few more 1944 Philadelphia steel cents existing than those from Denver or San Francisco.

    Examples of the 1944 Belgian steel two franc coins are additionally known struck in silver from planchets made for the 1944 Netherlands 25 cent coins (KM-164), which were also produced at the Philadelphia Mint. Apparently there was considerable mixing-up of planchets going on during all the wartime hustle and bustle. In fact, Bob Simpson's collection exhibited at FUN 2011 in Tampa also included 1943-P, 1943-S, and 1944-P cents struck on silver planchets.

    Sole Mint State 1944-S Steel Lincoln Cent, MS66 PCGS
    This Premium Gem PCGS 1944-S steel cent shows remarkable preservation and splendid luster throughout both sides, a coin that has clearly been well taken care of over the years. Neither side shows any mentionable contact or post-Mint distractions. The high points display a bit of golden patina through the centers of each side. The mintmark is large and well-formed. Tiny bits of extra metal protrude from the left vertex of the first 4 and from its right base. The strike is surprisingly sharp. This coin is guaranteed to set the hearts racing of error collectors for both its rarity and pristine condition.

    The only other example known of the 1944-S zinc-coated steel Lincoln cent is a PCGS Genuine coin that appeared as lot 787 in Bowers and Ruddy's auction of January 25-27, 1983. That coin was graded XF and had been cleaned, realizing $5,390. That coin was resold in August 2018, where it brought $49,200. David W. Lange writes in his Complete Guide to Lincoln Cents (2006) that "the rarity of this issue is so great that it may be considered non-collectible in the practical sense."

    This finest-known steel cent from any U.S. mint, with the Bob Simpson pedigree, must be considered a once-in-a-lifetime bidding opportunity for most collectors.
    Ex: Offered as MS66 NGC in our ANA Platinum Night auction (Heritage, 7/2008), lot 1560; Legend Numismatics; sold to Bob Simpson as MS66 PCGS; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2016), lot 5272.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 22EF, PCGS# 82731)

    Weight: 2.70 grams

    Metal: 100% Zinc Coated Steel


    View all of [The Bob R. Simpson Collection, Part VI ]

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2021
    18th-22nd Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 41
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,569

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

    Sold on Aug 18, 2021 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item
    Coming soon:

    Jewelry & Timepieces
    Opens about 10/22/2021

    Fine Art
    Opens about 10/19/2021

    Photography
    Opens about 10/22/2021

    Decorative Art
    Opens about 10/22/2021

    Space
    Opens about 10/25/2021

    Silver
    Opens about 10/26/2021

    Fine Art
    Opens about 10/26/2021

    Fine Art
    Opens about 10/27/2021

    Comics & Comic Art
    Opens about 10/29/2021

    Sports Collectibles
    Opens about 10/28/2021

    Movie Posters
    Opens about 10/29/2021

    World & Ancient Coins
    Opens about 10/24/2021

    Currency
    Opens about 10/25/2021

    US Coins
    Opens about 10/22/2021

    Fine Art
    Opens about 11/10/2021

    US Coins
    Opens about 11/01/2021

    Ethnographic Art
    Opens about 11/11/2021

    Fine & Rare Wine
    Opens about 11/12/2021

    Fine Art
    Opens about 11/12/2021

    Decorative Art
    Opens about 11/12/2021

    Historical
    Opens about 11/15/2021

    Luxury Accessories
    Opens about 11/16/2021

    Entertainment
    Opens about 11/16/2021

    World & Ancient Coins
    Opens about 11/07/2021

    Jewelry & Timepieces
    Opens about 11/05/2021

    Fine Art
    Opens about 11/16/2021

    Nature & Science
    Opens about 11/17/2021

    Photography
    Opens about 11/17/2021

    US Coins
    Opens about 11/08/2021

    Rare Books
    Opens about 11/19/2021

    Decorative Art
    Opens about 11/18/2021

    Comics & Comic Art
    Opens about 11/11/2021

    Comics & Comic Art
    Opens about 11/22/2021

    Jewelry & Timepieces
    Opens about 11/24/2021

    World & Ancient Coins
    Opens about 11/16/2021

    Currency
    Opens about 11/22/2021

    Arms & Armor
    Opens about 11/23/2021

    Decorative Art
    Opens about 11/23/2021

    Fine Art
    Opens about 11/24/2021

    US Coins
    Opens about 11/15/2021

    US Coins
    Opens about 11/15/2021

    Currency
    Opens about 11/18/2021

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    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
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 14 days left to consign to the 2021 December 16 - 19 US Coins Signature® Auction !

    Learn about consigning with us

    Thank you so much, everything went great with Heritage selling the coins.
    Frankie F.,
    North Bergen, NJ
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search