We use cookies on our website to give you the best online experience. Please know that if you continue to browse on our site, you agree to this use. You can always block or disable cookies using your browser settings. To find out more, please review our privacy policy.

COVID-19 RESOURCES AND INFORMATION: See the Atlanta Fed's list of publications, information, and resources; listen to our Pandemic Response webinar series.

HISTORY

Steel Penny

Move your cursor over the coin or tap it on your screen to see the reverse side.
Steel Penny front
Steel Penny back
  • In December 1942, Congress approved a one-cent coin that would conserve copper. The Mint selected zinc-coated steel as the substitute material.
  • Steel penny production saved enough copper to manufacture 1.25 million shells for American big-field guns during wartime.
  • The 1943 steel penny is the only regular American coin that a magnet can pick up.
  • About 40 copper pennies were minted in 1943, when copper blanks were accidentally left in the production hopper.