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Did a 1945 penny turn up in your pocket change and now you want to know what this old Lincoln wheat cent is worth?
There are many 1945 pennies floating around in circulation, and from time to time they wind up in the hands of a coin collector. But what’s the value of a 1945 wheat penny today?
You’ll be glad to know that if you have a 1945 penny, it’s certainly worth more than 1 cent!
Today’s 1945 Penny Value
While 1945 pennies are not rare coins, they’re nevertheless worth more than face value (or 1 cent) — because they’re made from valuable copper.
Also, since these old pennies are now considered obsolete coins, they have some extra numismatic value as well
Here’s a rundown on 1945 penny values and mintage figures for the different 1945 pennies — so you can see how many were made:
- 1945 penny (no mintmark, made in Philadelphia) — 1,040,515,000 minted; worth 2 to 5+ cents
- 1945-D penny (struck in Denver) — 266,268,000 minted; worth 3 to 5+ cents
- 1945-S penny (produced in San Francisco) — 181,770,000 minted; worth 5 to 10+ cents
*1945 penny values are for examples with average circulation wear and with no damage — such as holes, bends, or signs of cleaning. Uncirculated 1945 pennies are worth more.
What Makes 1945 Pennies So Unique?
There’s some special history behind every 1945 penny you hold.
Not only were 1945 pennies made during World War II, but also every single 1945 Lincoln cent contains bits of recovered ammunition shells that were used in training United States military soldiers.
These so-called shell case cents (or shell case pennies) were struck from 1944 through 1946. They were the answer to replacing 1943 steel pennies, which weren’t very popular with the public — because they rusted quickly and were often confused with dimes.
The shell case penny is made from an alloy that is 95% copper and 5% zinc.
A worn shell case penny looks virtually the same as a circulated penny made from the then-regular bronze alloy (95% copper and 5% tin and zinc). However, a skilled Lincoln cent collector may see a slight difference in the color of uncirculated shell case pennies and “regular” bronze pennies.
An uncirculated shell case penny appears a little darker than an ordinary bronze Lincoln cent.
Shell case pennies are definitely historic relics of World War II, but they are quite common in all grades up to at least Mint State-65.
IMPORTANT: Do You Know The Grade Of Your Penny?
To determine the true value of your 1945 penny, you first need to know what condition (or grade) your coin is in.
Grab a coin magnifier and a copy of the U.S. Coin Grading Standards book. Then, watch this video to see how to grade coins yourself at home:
More About The 1945 Wheat Penny
In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some other resources to help you understand 1945 wheat penny values:
- Old Lincoln Cents You Can Still Find In Pocket Change
- Old Copper Pennies: Which Ones To Save & What They’re Worth
- Which Old Pennies Are The Most Valuable?
- 5 Popular Wheat Penny Error Coins
- 43 Most Valuable Pennies Worth Holding Onto
I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins 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 the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I’m also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I’ve contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I’ve authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!