It seems that about once a year a local media source runs a story about the 1943 copper penny. It may be on the news or in the paper, or even in a local ethnic publication. We can always tell when this happens because we will suddenly get a large volume of calls about 1943 pennies. These media stories do not do a good job conveying the rarity (or lack of) of the 1943 penny, so let’s make this clear:
The 1943 penny is not rare
The 1943 Lincoln cents are struck on steel planchets. The US minted almost half a billion of the coins. The penny that the news stories sensationalize are a scarce variety where the coin was accidentally struck on a copper planchet instead of steel. Yes, the copper 1943 pennies are rare and valuable, but the ones you have at home are not made of copper. Sometimes a rusted steel coin can look copper, but a simple magnet test will reveal that your coin is not rare.
These coins are an interesting piece of history. The reason they were made of steel instead of copper was so the copper could be used for shell casings and other war related needs. Necessity is the mother of invention and news articles are the mother of misinformation!