Have a Silver Penny That’s NOT a 1943 Steel Cent? Here’s How to Find Out What You Have

silver pennyA lot of people leaving comments here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins have been asking me about their silver pennies.

Of course, many of these silver one-cent coins are 1943 pennies, which really aren’t silver pennies. They’re actually made with zinc-coated steel.

However, many of these inquiries about silver pennies have nothing to do with 1943 Lincoln cents or even the highly rare 1944 steel cent (a mint error caused by leftover steel coin blanks getting accidentally getting stamped with the 1944 coin die).

I’ve had a lot of people ask me about their 1961 silver penny. Or their 1978 silver penny. Or their 1986 silver penny.

Since I’ve been getting questions about silver pennies on a regular basis, I’ve decided that it’s time to write a post about them and hopefully help answer some readers’ questions.

First of all, there are many reasons why a penny could appear silver.

Silver pennies can be caused by:

  • An error at the U.S. Mint
  • Plating with silver, pewter, or mercury
  • A common science experiment

Of course, determining what might have caused your penny to look silver means digging a little deeper. Any of the causes listed above could apply to your penny, so to figure out what’s going on, you’ll need the help of a trusty coin scale. However, any scale that can measure items by the gram or the fraction of a gram will work.

 

Is My Penny Silver Because of a Mint Error?

OK, the most valuable circumstance for your coin would be if it was struck on the wrong planchet (coin blank). Such is the case for 1944 steel cents, as mentioned earlier in this post. Approximately 35 1944 pennies were struck on the zinc-coated steel planchets used for the iconic 1943 steel cent.

1944 steel cents, like their 1943 steel penny siblings, can stick to a magnet, and they weigh decidedly less than their copper counterparts, at 2.70 grams versus 3.11 grams. Yet, they are worth substantially more; a 1944 steel cent can auction for upward of $75,000, whereas a typical 1944 copper Lincoln cent is worth around 5 to 10 cents.

Another reason some pennies may look silver would be because they were struck on dime planchets. These types of errors, though not as rare or valuable as the 1944 steel penny, are still highly unusual and sought-after by coin collectors – especially those who prize error coins. You can tell a penny on dime planchet error relatively easily.

First, part of the design (likely the rim) would be cut off because, as a dime planchet is smaller than a penny planchet. Also, the coin would weigh less. Silver dime planchets (made before 1965) weigh 2.5 grams, and copper-nickel clad planchets (made since 1965) have a weight of 2.27 grams.

If you think you have such a piece, you will want to send it to a third-party coin grading company to have it authenticated, since penny on dime planchet error coins are worth around $300 and up.

An additional cause for pennies made since the 1980s to appear silver is that, in some instances, the copper plating on zinc-based Lincoln cents (produced since 1982) isn’t fully articulated. In other cases the plating is completely missing. These error pennies are worth approximately $50 or more.

Modern zinc-based pennies that appear silver should be carefully evaluated, since some of these coins have had their copper coating chemically removed post mint. Only a coin authentication firm or metallurgist could determine whether the coin was chemically altered.

 

Pattern Coins and the 1974 Aluminum Penny

Another U.S. Mint-derived cause of a silver penny would be in the case of pattern coins.

Over the years, the U.S. Mint has tried striking pennies using other metals to lessen production costs (as of today, it costs the U.S. government nearly two cents to make a penny). One such experimentation happened in 1973, when the U.S. Mint began striking more than 1.5 million 1974-dated aluminum pennies. These aluminum Lincoln cents, weighing in at less than a gram each, had a brilliant silvery color.

While many were provided to government representatives, the coin failed to gain traction. Opposition toward the coin came from several groups, including pediatricians, who were concerned the aluminum composition of the coin would not be picked up by X-ray machines. The vending industry also scoffed at the coin over concerns that they would cause mechanical failures in vending machines.

Though the U.S. government eventually recalled all 1974 aluminum pennies, about a dozen are still missing. All are considered government property and subject to seizure by the U.S. Secret Service.

 

Turning a Penny Silver

So if your silver penny isn’t a 1944 steel penny, penny on dime planchet error, or U.S. Mint pattern coin, what might you have?

In all likelihood, you have a penny that has been plated with silver, pewter, or mercury.

Countless pennies have been altered in appearance with the application of silver-colored (as well as gold-colored) metals. Whether done as a science experiment in school or purely for the sake of novelty, plating pennies has long been a popular thing to do — especially for those who have no numismatic interest in coins and are unaware that plating coins is considered post-mint damage (PMD, as we coin collectors acronym it) and can actually lessen the value of a coin.

You can tell a coin has been plated by weighing it. If your penny was made after 1982 and weighs greater than 2.5 grams, it was likely plated; and, remember, pennies made before 1982 (with the exception of some mid-19th century one-cent coins) shouldn’t weigh more than 3.11 grams.

Always treat plated pennies with caution, since there is a very strong likelihood the substance of choice for the plater was mercury – a poisonous element that can be absorbed through the skin and cause neurological injuries.

 

What Kind of Silver Penny Do You Have?

Have you been able to determine what type of silver penny you have from reading this post?

While my intention is to educate whether than to burst the bubble on the value or mystique of your silver penny, I hope you have one of the scarce error coins that I mentioned early in this article. Rare coins can be and are found in pocket change, and many turn up in estates and even while combing the ground with a metal detector.

Good luck! And, if you have any questions, remember that you can always drop a line here in the comments below.

Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez

Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez

My love for coins and numismatics began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I'm a member of both the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG). I've also been studying meteorology and watching weather patterns for years. I enjoy sharing little-known facts and fun stuff about coins, weather, travel, health, food, and living green.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/whitney.danielle.5454 Whitney Danielle

    I have a tiny silver penny it weighs .5 grams and is dated 2010 can you help me figure out what it is?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Whitney –

      It almost sounds like you are describing a type of replica, like the type used with doll playlets. These are fairly common but are still interesting pieces nevertheless.

  • jose gutierrez

    i have a silver color 1977 D penny, it doesnt stick to a magnet, why is like that??

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Jose,

      It sounds like your 1977-D Lincoln cent was probably dipped in mercury or coated in another silvery colored, non-magnetic metal. This is something that has been commonly done with pennies after they leave the mint.

  • http://www.facebook.com/beverlypopa.flees Beverly Popa Flees

    I have a 1981 silver penny. I took it to our local coins company and they were not able to prove or disprove what I may have and want me to spend $35 to have the penny sent out and looked at from a third party company. I am wondering if I should do such a thing or would I be wasting $35 for a penny? what do you think?

  • Chelsea Kasnoff

    Hi Joshua,

    We found a 1976 silver penny that has a bell and the USA stamped in it…Got any ideas??

    Thanks

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Yes, Chelsea! You have a popular type of novelty coin; back during the nation’s bicentennial in 1976, many Lincoln cents were counterstamped by a private minting company with an image of the Liberty Bell to commemorate our nation’s 200th birthday. These coins are worth around $1 to $2 each.

      • Chelsea Kasnoff

        Thanks Joshua! I didn’t realize this before but the back has a circle in the middle and some of the lettering is messed up. Could this affect anything?

        • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

          I am afraid that would affect the value, Chelsea.

  • Brooke

    I have a half penny with a sail boat on one side and nothing on the other side. Is this worth anything??

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Brooke –

      It sounds like you have an altered British half penny. Most British half pennies are worth less than a dollar if they are well worn, but given yours was apparently altered (probably for the sake of being used by an illusionist), yours would really only have monetary value to novelty coin collectors.

  • Rochelle

    I have a 1943 Steel penny . It does stick to a magnet . It has the wheat emblem on the back . It is not in mint condition by any means, but you can tell what all the details on it are . Is it worth anything ?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Rochelle –

      A 1943 steel cent with an average amount of wear is worth between 10 cents and 25 cents – and is a novel little treasure to hold on to!

  • jonik

    We found a 1986 penny (no mint city marking) with the raised rim, not the outside edge, on both sides, being shiny metallic, like silver, pewter or something. Descriptions here don’t exactly seem to fit. Close looks have it perfect…not painted or anything. What is it?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Jonik –

      It is highly possible that the zinc core of the coin is exposed either due to a mint error (the blank may have not been coated with copper) or because a science experiment resulted in its copper coating being removed by exposure to chemicals. It is highly probable that the latter is the situation, given the commonality of such experiments.

      • jonik

        Thanks. A close look at this penny shows silvery (zincky ?) metalic color exposed in places on the coin faces, not just the entire rim on both sides….as if the “copper” coating has been worn off a bit. And there’s some small black smudges…which I will not try to remove without expert advice.
        We all love a mystery. Solutions good too.

      • jonik

        What kind of experiment would focus on just the raised rim? Outside edge is copper color…as is most of the faces, except where wear rubbed off some of the coating. If the copper was entirely rubbed off, would we have a “silver” coin?…like a ’43 penny?

  • robert

    I found a 2002silver penny marked with a D its bigger than a normal penny but smaller than a nickel. Also marked on the back next ed to the Linkin memorial is the letters fd, I can’t seem to find anything on it can u help

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Robert –

      It sounds like your Lincoln cent was silver plated by somebody outside of the U.S. Mint. The “FG” on the reverse, near the Lincoln Memorial, stands for Frank Gasparro, who designed the Lincoln Memorial design in 1959.

  • Paul

    my 1977 silver penny weighs in at 3.09 grams on a jeweler’s scale. looks to be same thickness as control 1984 penny. if it is plated, it certainly has retained a great deal of detail; if the coating has been been chemically tampered with, they did a good job getting rid of all the copper. next step? i live and in the nyc area.

  • Janet Davis

    All I cans see is 19? Kinda look like 1991. Its faded. Just the round edges are Silver. I’ve never seen nothing like it. It Looks real
    Didn’t know what to do with it?

  • delani taylor

    Hi robert, I am a cashier at a Pharmacy and a customer came in with a silver looking penny that seemed to be dated in the 1950s if I remember correctly. He decided to keep it but I was just wondering how much that could be worth?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Delani,

      A silver-colored 1950s penny is almost assuredly one that has been plated with another metal. Such pieces are only considered novelty coins (altered coins), and has no numismatic value.

  • Brendon

    I have a very shiny silver penny I saved for like 25 yrs.( Just because it was pretty and different) It says 1974 d on the front. and its magnetic?? could it be one of those “missing” aluminum pennies?? Im not a fan of the Secret service or the Men in Black showing up at my house…

  • Mark

    I have five 1974 D pennies. Are you able to tell me if they are aluminum?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi Mark,

      You can tell if your 1974-D pennies are aluminum by their weight and appearance. If they weigh less than 1 gram and are silvery in appearance, they are aluminum.

      • Mark

        Here are for you to look at to see if they are aluminum? I also have a 1936 Buffalo head nickel and a 1930 dime. Are they worth anything?

        • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

          Hello, Mark –

          From the photo, I can tell these are all regular copper Lincoln cents. However, your 1936 Buffalo nickel and 1930 Mercury dime do have extra value. The ’36 Buffalo nickel is worth around $1 and the the ’30 Mercury dime has a value of about $4. Thanks for your question and for posting that great photo!

  • Caitlyn

    Hi Joshua!

    I have a 1947 wheat penny that is silver in color and holds slightly to a magnet. I haven’t been able to find any information about it. Do you think it could be plated, or something else?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello Caitlyn,

      Given your description of the 1947 wheat cent, I venture to say the coin was plated with steel by somebody outside the U.S. Mint attempting to replicate the novelty of the 1943 steel pennies.

      Thank you for your question!

  • Larry Freeborn

    i have a penny thats wore badly. a magnet wont stick to it. think it could be silver.

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, Larry –

      Would you please post a photo of the one-cent coin you think may be silver?

      Thank you!

  • John Green

    I have a 1986 Lincoln Cent that is silver in color, no copper anywhere on the coin. Under magnification cannot see anything different than a normal coin. The coin’s weight is 2.52 grams. Any ideas?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Thank you for providing me with the weight of your coin, John. Given he weight is 2 100ths over the typical weight of the coin, I suspect that could be due to a thin coating of silver-colored metal on the coin (possibly zinc). Further metallurgical tests could verify or invalidate this theory.

  • Melissa Ellison

    Hi, i work in retail and i found a 1961 silver in color penny, it has a d under the date, i dont know much about coins but it was different. do you think it may be worth anything?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, Melissa –

      While your 1961 silver-colored penny may look different, it sounds like that’s because it was plated with another metal to mimic the appearance of a 1943 steel cent. While your coin is worth face value, it is still an interesting find nonetheless!

      Thank you for your question!

  • David Pink

    Hello Joshua, I have come across a 1973 silver colored penny. It has no mint mark anywhere. It is dated 1973. It is the size of a penny, I am unsure of weight. It also does not have groves around the outside like a penny or a dime. It is flat on the outside like that of a nickel. Do you think I have something special?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, David –

      Well, your Lincoln cent WAS minted around the time that the U.S. Mint was experimenting with aluminum compositions and other metals to help lower the cost of striking the one-cent coin. However, knowing the weight of your coin would be important to deducing the cause of its color. If it weighs less than 3 grams, you u MAY have something, but in all likelihood, it is a coin that was coated in zinc or another silver-colored metal to mimic the appearance of the distinctive 1943 steel cent.

      • David Pink

        Ok im sorry i wrote 1973. But, its a 1974. Its non magnetic and it weighs exactly 3 grams. If that means any extra.

        • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

          Hi, David –

          Given the weight of your coin, it sounds to me that your coin is a regular copper Lincoln cent that was plated with pewter, silver, or zinc to mimic the experimental 1974 aluminum cents.

          Thanks for your question!

  • Laticia

    1954 silver penny with two leaves on the back side.

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi Laticia,

      This coin appears to have been plated by somebody with zinc to resemble the appearance of the novel 1943 steel cent. While this piece is worth a few cents, it is still a neat find nevertheless!

      • Laticia

        Thanks JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide! 6 months later…Lol

        • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

          Ha ha, you’re most welcome, Laticia!

      • Laticia

        Ok thank! And I still have it and it still looks the same.

  • john

    Hello Joshua,I have a 1991-D Kennedy half dollar that I came across.It is smooth around the edges and the silver color seems to be flaking off and where it is it looks gold.Can you tell me anything about it.Thank you in advance ,John

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, John!

      Hmm… Sounds interesting. If you could, would you mind posting a photo of your 1991-D Kennedy half dollar here so I can take a look and see if I can figure out what’s going.

  • Tineessa nelson

    1990 no mint mark silver penny any ideas no discoloration ffrom chemcals either

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, Tineessa,

      Those are great photos. It’s very possible that your coin was not properly coated with its copper outer layer, and such a piece could be worth around $50.

      HOWEVER, I would not rule out the possibility that it was altered, as there are chemicals that can completely dissolve the copper and leave the zinc behind, seemingly untouched. Therefore, I suggest authentication.

      Here’s a link that discusses authentication and lists out some of the reputable coin certification services: http://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/2009/01/slabbed_coins.php

  • Tineessa nelson

    1990 no mint mark silver penny any ideas no discoloration from chemcals either

  • NoNonsense

    I found a 1976 no P penny in a bicentennial mint cent. It has the marks like someone cleaned or removed the coating, but at the same time, it has almost a silver like mirror appearence. I’m taking it to my coin shop today just to confirm. I’m guessing it’s mercury or zinc, but I would like to know what you think. The rim is also the same color and shows no copper coloring. It is not attracted to a magnet and it also has a different sound when dropping it.

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi,

      I have a 1981 mint set with a Philadelphia penny of similar appearance. I do know that a metal wash the mint used in the case of the 1981 cent caused some one-cent coins from the Philly mint that year to have a much lighter appearance than others. Given that your coin is roughly from the same era, I’d suggest a similar situation happened in the case of your cent.

      Thanks for your question!

      • NoNonsense

        Thanks. Looks like it was a science experiment. At least that’s what other coin collectors were saying on a forum.

  • NoNonsense

    Sorry. Guess my file size was too big.

  • dennis949

    i have a 1982d large date without any copper plateing or color. just zinc

  • Chan Navie

    Hi i have stumbled upon a silver 1943d penny..wheaty.. and i have no idea about it . Any suggestions? Thx

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Chan –

      In 1943, the U.S. Mint chose to make Lincoln cents out of steel to ration copper for the World War II effort – we needed copper for artillery and other crucial materials. Steel cents are common and are generally worth 10 to 25 cents for worn specimens.

      Thanks for your question!

  • Tonya J.

    Hello. I have a 1974 silver colored penny. No mint mark. Magnet does not stick to it. Not sure how much it weighs. Thoughts?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, Tonya —

      Hmm… without knowing the weight I can’t say for certain what you have, but it’s very possible that your coin may have been silver plated to resemble the 1974 aluminum penny, which was an experimental piece that was struck back when the U.S. Treasury was looking for a cheaper metal to use for our one-cent coins besides copper.

      Of course, it’s also possible that you could have the actual 1974 aluminum penny, of which only a few are thought to exist. You could tell the difference because the aluminum pennies weigh only about 1 gram — 3 times less than copper pennies of the era.

      If you can get a weight and/or a photo, I can tell you more!

      Thanks for your question!

  • Bob S.

    Hello. I have a 1955 wheat penny. Silver in color, double stamp on the outside. any thoughts.

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi Bob,

      I will venture to say the coin was plated in silver or mercury (very common back in the day), but without seeing an image I can’t say for certain.

      If you wouldn’t mind posting an image, that would be great, thanks!

  • kennella

    I have a 1943 silver penny it sticks to the magnet wat can it mean where in Chicago Illinois can i take it to b examined

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, Kennella —

      Since your 1943 penny DOES stick to a magnet, you have a regular steel cent that’s worth between 10 and 25 cents.

      Nice find! These are historic coins that tell part of the story of the World War II era.

      Here’s some more info on these really cool 1943 steel pennies: http://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/2008/09/1943_lincoln_cent.php

      • CHRIS

        I have a 1944, 1943 penny. The 1944 doesn’t stick to a magnet where the 1943 penny does. I also have a few silver dollars one 1921,1922,1890 I am wondering if they have any value.

        • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

          Hello, Chris —

          It sounds like you have a 1943 steel penny (common) and 1944 bronze penny (common again). But god thing you checked anyway. The 1943 steel cent has a value of about 20 cents while the 1944 bronze penny is worth about 5 to 8 cents.

          Does your 1921 silver dollar have the same basic design as the 1890? If so, then each is worth about $20. If the 1921 looks like the 1922, then the 1921 is worth $100+. The 1922 is worth roughly $18. (All silver values dependent on the value of silver, which is right now worth about $17 an ounce).

          Here’s more info on the silver dollars you have: http://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/2009/02/morgan_silver_dollars.php

          I hope this helps!

  • Anna Ortiz Gurule

    Hi there. I have this penny that is “silverish”. Any comments on it?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello Anna –

      Would you mind posting a photo of your silverish coin so we can see what the cause of the coloration might be?

      Thank you!

      • Anna Ortiz Gurule

        I posted the photo a couple of times. Did you see it?

  • Anna Ortiz Gurule

    I’ve tried posting a photo but it doesn’t show up. I’m thinking it might be too large. What size does the photo need to be?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      This photo looks good to me! It looks like somebody treated your coin with a stain to accentuate the design/devices on the coin.

  • Anna Ortiz Gurule

    Trying a smaller size

  • Lissa C Della

    Hi again Joshua, I was looking at this 1993-D Lincoln penny. Is it just me or does it looked doubled? Especially in date/mint mark area, LIBERTY, and Lincoln’s bust and bow tie… I am still learning how to identify between machine doubling and actual double die. What do you think?

    • Lissa C Della

      Here’s another picture of the same coin. I made it b/w to better highlight the doubling. What do you think?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      How’s it going Lissa? Thanks for checking in. The doubled appearance on your 1993-D cent is indeed very striking (pun intended), but the flattish, shelf-like appearance of the doubled, or ghost, image, lends this to be machine doubling.

      Die doubling usually results in a secondary image that has a pronounced, rounded edge much like the primary design. If you need any further explanation please let me know!

      You’re making some really neat-looking finds at any rate!

  • Stefanie Foster

    i have this penny it sounds funny when mixed with other pennies and it is bigger and concave too… it also looks to not have copper coating….what is it?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi Stefanie,

      When this coin was hallowed out, the deformation spread the metal out, making the diameter wider than original. Presuming this to be a piece made for novelty presentation (such as part of jewelry), it was either pewter coated or chemically altered to remove the thin copper coating.

      I hope this info helps!

  • Joe

    Hey Joshua. I have a 1994 no mint 2.33g part silverish part copper Lincoln cent. Any thoughts? Thanks Joe

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello Joe –

      I see what happened here… Notice how the “silvery” parts are only on the areas of the coin that stick up highest from the surface? It looks to me like somebody wore the metal down, exposing the coin’s zinc interior.

      Thank you for your question!

  • Joe

    I also have a 1977D 3.23g thats all silver. I think it may be coated. As you can see in my previous pic

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi Joe,

      Great determination; yes, if your Lincoln cent is silvery in color and weighs more than 3.11 grams, it has likely been plated. The 1994 penny, however, has been sanded down, exposing the inner zinc core under the remaining copper outer layer.

  • Joe

    I also have this one. Have no idea what to even say about it.

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, Joe –

      This is a token that came from an uncirculated set assembled by the United States Mint. Uncirculated sets made during the era this piece was made, which was the 1980s and 1990s, included coins from Philadelphia and Denver, with the coins from each mint in their own cellophane pouch.

      The “P” token (seen here) went with the coins from Philadelphia, and a similar-looking “D” Mint token accompanied coins in the set from the Denver mint. These are worth about 25 cents each.

      Here’s some more info about uncirculated sets: http://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/2010/09/uncirculated_mint_sets.php

  • Savannah Foster

    Hello Joshua, my father wanted me to look for his coin on the internet and I came across your site, we have a 1986-D penny that appears steel/metal, it does not stick to a magnet. We do also not have a gram scale, but my father said he automatically noticed it weighed less than a normal copper penny. Any ideas?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, Savannah —

      Is there any chance I may see a photo of your dad’s 1986-D penny, please? All pennies made since 1982 (except for some in 2009) were made with a silvery colored zinc inner core.

      It’s possible that either the copper was stripped (something that’s done in a common science experiment) or the copper was inadvertently left off the coin (a $50-100 mint error).

      Only a chemist or coin authenticator who can examine the coin can say for certain with the coin in hand. I hope this helps. Again, feel free to submit a photo so I can provide some more insight.

      Thanks for your question,
      Josh

  • Mychelle Rodriguez

    I have a 1977D silvery penny,I’ve been told it is a Mint error and that is has no copper at all in it,they are not sure what metal it is made from. It is smaller and looks different then a regular penny,any ideas??

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, Mychelle —

      Who told you this? Do you know what your coin weighs? It’s possible it may have a foreign coin planchet that was accidentally struck by a Lincoln cent die; this was very common in the 1970s as the U.S. Mint struck coins for some foreign nations.

      • Mychelle Rodriguez

        Tulsa Gold and Silver, it’s a local coin collector store. It weighs 2.7.

        • Mychelle Rodriguez

          I put a pic of it on Google+

  • Lawrence Colella

    I have a 1957 silver penny – I was just told that it might be coated- but the fine lines in the reverse
    and the date and the wording on the coin are not filled in- if it were coated all the fine lines should
    have been filed in? Also sometime back a fellow coin collector scratched the back side of the coin to see if
    it were coated and found no residue from the scratching on the coin. I have had the coin since 1960 when my Grand father worked at a NJ bank and would pick up the coin from the Phil mint and bring them back to the bank to be rolled in the bank basement. He said he would find the silver pennies and usually send them
    back to the mint to be destroyed. I feel the the coin dealer I just visited might have been to hasty in his decision about my coin

  • Chinchin

    I just find a 1961 silver penny its rareor not?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello,

      What does your coin weigh? It should weigh right around 3.11 grams. If not, it could’ve been struck on the wrong metal and is therefore worth more (that amount would depend on what metal it was struck, something we could tell once a weight is determined). If it has a normal weight (right around 3.11 grams), then your coin has been plated and wouldn’t have any value over face.

      Thank you for checking with us!
      Josh

  • Rachel

    I found a 1940 silver wheat penny in my register the other day and it weighs 1 gram, can you tell me anything about that?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Rachel —

      Thanks for providing the weight of your coin. I’d be interested to know if your coin is attracted to a magnet. If you can post any photos of your coin, that would be helpful too, please.

      Thank you!

  • Marilyn

    I have a 1976 Penney is it rare.

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, Marilyn —

      A 1976 penny isn’t rare, but since it does contain almost pure copper (worth about 2.5 to 3 cents), it is worth holding aside.

      Thanks for checking with us!
      Josh

      • Marilyn

        Thank you for the information

    • Marilyn

      Thank you for the information now I will continue to search the silver nickels yrs 1906-1911-1905….

  • Michelle

    Hello, I think I have found a 1943 steel penny, it will stick to a magnet but I do not have access to a gram scale. See pictures

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, Michelle –

      Yes, that’s a nice-looking steel cent, too! Pieces like that are worth 50 cents to $1 and are great souvenirs from the World War II era, when the U.S. Mint struck over 1 billion pennies from steel to help save copper for the war effort.

      Thank you so much for your question and those great photos!

      • Aa

        Hello JoshuaFunTimesGuide please look at the penny i have posted,let me know what you think please

  • Aa

    Is this 1976 penny weighing 3.11 rare please help. The color of this coin stands out next to any other.

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, Aa —

      It appears this coin may have been gold plated. While that means this coin has been altered and therefore doesn’t have any extra numismatic value, it is still a neat-looking piece worth keeping.

      Thanks for your question!

  • Mike Gregg

    I have 6 1943 d pennies that weigh all 2.80 grams can u tell me what I have and is there any value

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, Mike —

      Thanks for providing the weights of your 1943-D pennies. Given that the weight of a typical steel cent is 2.7 grams, and minor differences in wight can occur between coins of different wear states (and also be interpreted differently on certain scales), I don’t think your coins sound out of the ordinary for steel cents. Without a photo I can’t say for certain, but I believe you have six regular 1943-D steel pennies worth between 20 and 50 cents each, if they’re worn.

      Thanks for your question!
      Josh

  • Marc

    Any ideas on this one? Its a nice silver color with copper toned edges. Seems to have a stamed 800 on it.

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, Marc —

      This is a pretty coin. It looks like there are three little gouges toward the base under the wheat stalks, which would unfortunately detract from the value, but overall I’d say the coin is worth at least 25 to 30 cents as, from every indication in the photo, it appears to be uncirculated.

      Nice piece!

  • rick

    Hey Josh, I’m trying to help my father out. We’re trying to figure out what coin we have. It is a “silver” 1909 penny. No clue what it may be but he had it tested to see what it contained. Compared to a normal 1909 penny which has zinc and copper, his also has nickel iron and Tin. The test reports that a normal penny is 94.37% Cu and 5.42% Zn. The other penny shows 52.94% Cu, 0.483% Zn, 41.26% Ni, 2.02% Sn and 2.77% Fe. Any ideas on what it may be? Thanks.

    -Rick

  • Mark Brooks

    I have 1943 silver pennys how much I get for them

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, Mark —

      Worn 1943 steel cents are worth 10 to 25 cents each.

      Best,
      Josh

      • Mark Brooks

        how much is 1943 liberty dollar worth

        • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

          Hi, Mark —

          Are you sure on the year? There were no silver dollars officially made from 1936 through 1970.

          If you wouldn’t mind posting a photo, I’d be glad to take a look and help determine your coin’s value!

          Best,
          Joshua @ TheFunTimesGuide

      • Mark Brooks

        how much is 1974 kennedy half a dollar worth

        • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

          Hi, Mark —

          Here are the answers to your other questions:

          *1776-1976 quarter – face value if worn; $2 if it has an “S” mintmark
          *1974 Kennedy half dollar – face value if worn
          *1976 Eisenhower dollar – $1.05 if worn; $8 if it has an “S” mintmark on it.
          *Most Susan B. Anthony dollars are worth face value if worn, though 1981 dollars are worth an extra 10 cents or so. What year is your Susan B. Anthony dollar, please?

      • Mark Brooks

        how much is a bicentennial quarter worth

      • Mark Brooks

        how much is susan beanthony dollar worth

      • Mark Brooks

        how much is 1776 -1976 eisen hower dollar worth

  • Mark Brooks

    how much is 1945 wheat penny worth

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Mark —

      A worn 1945 Lincoln cent is worth 5 cents.

      Thanks for your question,
      Josh

  • Maria sparks

    I’m trying to understand the difference in the 1943 silver Pennies that are worth lots and he ones that aren’t

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Maria —

      The difference comes in the metallic composition of the coin. Bronze/copper 1943 Lincoln cents are worth $100,000 and up. Steel 1943 pennies are worth 10 to 25 cents in worn condition. Basically, if your 1943 pennies stick to a magnet, they’re steel and are worth 10 to 25 cents each, for the most part. If your 1943 Lincoln cents DON’T stick to a magnet, you may have the much more valuable copper penny.

      Please let me know if you need any further assistance with this question!

      Best,
      Josh

  • rugger

    I have a few old coins 1800s from Canada England Germany during the war with swastikas on them American large cents steel penny I live in Massachusetts where’s the best place to take them to have them appraised

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, Rugger —

      I’d be willing to help provide you some idea as to value for a 3-5 of your coins if you would so kindly provide photos of each, please.

      Best,
      Josh

  • biffbifford

    I just pulled out a 1962 Ben Franklin Mint set I purchased on eBay some years back. Since I collect these set in large numbers, I briefly looked at it when I got it and then threw it in its stack of other 1962’s. For some reason I forgot to put it away last time I brought it out while rummaging for something else. I decided to take a look at it tonight and noticed that the 1962 Lincoln penny is losing its patina around the rim and just inside the rim to reveal a silver color. Of course the finish on these coins are mirror like and the penny is contained it its respective plastic holder which also contains the other sealed coins. I tripped out that the copper patina appears to be wearing away and behind it is a silver patina. I could determine if it was silver by simply CUTTING THE COIN from its original plastic holder and weighing it, but then if it turned out to be silver I may have ruined a potential valuable set. Has anyone ever heard of a silver penny from 1962 and what other clues should I be looking for while trying to determine if this coin is silver? As much as I know about copper is that it is copper all the way through and changes to the patina are often demonstrated by the coin getting darker in color. I have never seen a copper penny loose its patina to reveal a different coating underneath it. It also has the kind of discoloration silver coins get on the rim. I understand the coins packed in these early plastic holders had strange reaction to the chemicals in the construction of the plastic. Anybody have anything to add, or something I should be looking for, please advise.

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Biff —

      You’ll be glad to know there is no such original U.S. Mint product from 1962 known as a Ben Franklin set (this is an aftermarket package); all original proof sets from the era were assembled by the U.S. Mint in pliable, cellophane packages. So, in other words, you would not really be ruining the value of the set if you wanted to carefully remove the 1962 cent and see what the coin weighs.

      The piece, as you know, should weigh 3.11 grams. While there are such pieces called “off-metal” errors that could possibly result in a Lincoln cent being struck on a silver (or other metal) planchet, such occurrences are indeed very rare. While I have seen light or silvery colored proof Lincoln cents from the era, often the result of chemical reactions in the coin’s environment, it never hurts to check!

      Wishing you luck!
      Josh

  • Shari

    Hello, I have a 1943 silver wheat penny, it is magnetic. Is it of any value?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Shari —

      Yes, a 1943 steel cent is worth 10 to 25 cents in worn condition.

      Best,
      Josh

      • Shari

        I have several in mint condition but I guess thatshe irrelevant, but thanks for responding I appreciate it

  • Melody Harberson

    I have a 1977 silver penny. Can someone help?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Melody —

      Would you please post a photo of your coin? If you can determine this, it would also be helpful to know how much your coin weighs, down to the hundredth of a gram (I understand this part can be difficult; don’t worry if you can’t get the weight).

      Thank you,
      Josh

  • Michelle

    I have a 1975 penny that is silver in color. One of my friends works with coins occasionally and he ran it through some kind of X-ray machine and told me that it is composed of half copper and half nickel. It seems to be in very good condition, do you have any idea if it’s a mint error and what it could be worth?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Michelle —

      It’s also possible that your coin was nickel plated, which is something that has been done to many pennies to create fantasy pieces.

      One way we could determine what this coin is made of is to weigh it. A “regular” 1975 Lincoln cent should weigh 3.11 grams. A coin of any other composition in that size would weigh more or less depending on the metal. If you’re somehow able to weigh the coin down the hundreths of a gram, that would help answer this question.

      Best,
      Josh

  • Maria

    Hi I have a 1974 D penny. Is it worth anything? How can I tell if its the real aluminum penny?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Maria —

      Aluminum pennies look silvery in color and are much lighter than copper cents. An aluminum Lincoln cent weighs just under 0.937 grams, whereas 1974 copper cents weigh more than three times as much, or 3.11 grams.

      Thanks for your question,
      Josh

  • Jay

    I have 1960 d penny thats silver colored is it worth anything?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Jay —

      Would you please post a photo of your silver-colored 1960-D cent?

      Thanks!
      Josh

  • Rick

    Hello this is my 1965 silver colored penny it weighs 2.99 grams do you know what it is?

  • keith

    Hello I just bought several 5000 wheat penny bags on ebay and while counting one I found a 1949s penny that was silver in color, I grabbed 3 other random wheats and 1 1943 steel wheat and put them on a scale. The steel penny was slightly worn and with a weight of 2.9 grams, the other 4 pennies including the 49s all had a weight of 3.1 grams and all were the same diameter so it is not cut from the dime planchet. also the 43 stuck to a magnet the other 4 did not. any guess’s??

  • Melissa Dukes-Quinlan

    I have a 1976 silver penny how do I know what it’s worth? Just curious!

  • Kim Page

    I have a 1981 silver penny how do I know if its worth anything?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Kim —

      I’d need to know how much your coin weighs, its size, and other factors relating to its physical characteristics, please. If you could post a photo that would be helpful, too.

      Thanks!
      Josh