Two previously unreported copper alloy 1943 Lincoln cents, one exhibiting a major obverse die break, have surfaced and been authenticated, graded and encapsulated by Numismatic Guaranty Corp.
The two coins are among four wrong-planchet Lincoln cent errors — three dated 1943 and one 1942 — that Florida collector Michael Pratt inherited upon the 1992 death of his father, Albert Michael Pratt, a former die setter at the Philadelphia Mint. Michael Pratt says he has no evidence of how the wartime cents came to be in his father’s possession, since he doesn’t recall his father discussing the coins while he was alive.
The intended alloy for Lincoln cents struck in 1943 was zinc-coated steel, since copper was needed for military applications during World War II.
Planchets composed of the 1942 alloy — first of 95 percent copper, 3 percent zinc and 2 percent tin, and later 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc — presumably remained in hoppers that were eventually filled with zinc-coated steel planchets. The planchets of different alloys were subsequently fed into the coinage presses and struck into coins.
Copper-alloy 1943 Lincoln cents were struck at the Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver Mints.
With the certification of the two Pratt 1943 cents, the number of copper alloy Philadelphia Mint strikes increases to more than 12. The exact number is not known because of duplicate listings and grading service resubmissions.
Only one copper-alloy 1943-D Lincoln cent is known, along with six examples of copper-alloy 1943-S Lincoln cents.
The four Lincoln cents certified for Michael Pratt by NGC are:
??A copper alloy 1943 Lincoln cent, graded NGC Mint State 62 brown.
??A copper-alloy 1943 Lincoln cent with major die break, graded NGC MS-61 brown. The major die break, referred to in the error specialty field of the hobby as a “cud,” occurred when a portion of a coin die broke and separated from the die. During striking, the planchet’s metal flowed into the resultant cavity, creating a raised featureless blob on the resultant coin, in place of the missing design elements. The cud on this piece appears along the truncation of the bottom of Abraham Lincoln’s coat with the bottom border. The NGC Price Guide lists a value of $575,000 for the error.
??A 1943 Lincoln cent struck on a planchet intended for a Netherlands 25-cent coin, graded NGC MS-61. The composition of the planchet is .640 fine silver. The Philadelphia Mint was contracted by foreign governments to strike coinage for their respective countries during World War II.
??A 1942 Lincoln cent struck on a planchet intended for a 20-centavo coin of Ecuador, graded NGC MS-63. The composition is brass.