Nugget of Knowledge: Rare pennies

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Len Rome's Daily Feature of Little Known Facts

(WYTV) – Today’s one cent piece is made of 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper.

Neither is magnetic, so no pennies should stick to a magnet.

During World War II, the government needed copper for ammunition and military equipment, so the U.S. Mint switched to steel to make pennies.

For one year, 1943, the penny was 99% steel and the rest zinc.

It’s relatively rare, but for a few dollars you can buy several online.

They’re silvery white in color and very magnetic.

However, if you find a copper colored penny labeled 1943 and not magnetic — in other words, it looks like today one cent piece — hold onto it. It’s worth $60,000 to $85,000.

When the Mint produced the 1943 steel pennies, it made about 40 mistakes: they’re copper.

They slipped by and collectors didn’t stumble across the error until 1947.

Where are these 40 special 1943 copper pennies? We’ve found 12 of them,. so 28 are still out there.

With 200 billion normal pennies in circulation, your odds of finding of one of the 28 are one in fifteen billion.

Fraudsters will try to trick the coin collector, taking a common 1948 copper penny and shaving down the 8 to look like a 3.

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