One of the most tumultuous years in the US and global history is the very 1944. As World War II was coming to a head, the situation in the States was far from good. Millions of soldiers are fighting overseas, and the country has redirected almost every single decision into meeting the needs of the proper war support. Even so, the uncertainty of the upcoming times, food shortages, job losses, and overall mayhem as made Americans more cautious of their choices than ever before. The country was forced to humble down and set its priorities straight.

One thing that also required humbling is the very thing that made a country; its own currency and denomination. It is no secret that throughout history, the USA has made difficult decisions when it comes to design and composition changes of their coins, but this time around, things seemed more serious than ever before. When a problem is so big that it reaches and questions the metal composition of a country’s coins, then we know big changes are coming along as well. And they did!

In the following paragraphs, we’ll explore the 1944 Lincoln penny, how the political and financial situation in the country, and on the global level affected some major changes made by the US Mint, and how worth is it in the current climate. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

The 1944 Lincoln Wheat Penny: History, Design

The 1944 Lincoln Cent - The 1944 Lincoln – Wheat Penny

The History

The tale of the 1944 Lincoln penny starts way earlier, in 1909 to be exact. The one-cent specimen was recommended by the U.S. Mint as a way to honor President Abraham Lincoln and his centennial birthday, which was in 1909. The coin has several reverse designs, but the very first one, the original one was a work of Victor David Brenner. The obverse featured a profile of President Lincoln, looking to the right side, while the reverse featured two stalks of wheat. The design was approved by the U.S. Mint, and was, later when the coin was finally released into circulation, very much beloved by the public as well.

The coin was made to symbolize and honor the United States, its rich and eventful history, the man who contributed to it being the greatest country in the world, and of course, prosperity and peace. But, the tale of the 1944 Lincoln penny is, unfortunately, far from telling the same tale. This time around, the story’s changing yet again, and the Second World War was knocking on the U.S. doors.

In 1942, the U.S. government and Mint recommended experimental changes of composition in the Lincoln Penny. Its initial composition was copper or bronze. But, now, copper was needed

elsewhere; or to be more exact, it was needed for ammunition and casings. Now, the Lincoln penny had to be made of something else, and it was recommended it be made of steel. Sure enough, the public wasn’t too pleased with this decision, claiming that the new coins felt strange, foreign, heavy, and confusing (with dimes or foreign money). So, in 1944, the government decided, yet again, to use recycled copper ammunition and make copper Lincoln pennies again.

The Coin Design and Mintage

As previously mentioned, the main characteristic of the 1944 Lincoln penny is, of course, the image of President Abraham Lincoln on the obverse, and the two stalks of wheat on the reverse. The main design of the coin was agreed upon in 1909, and it was created by Victor David Brenner. The design was based upon several inspirations, such as the Lincoln photographs taken by one of Matthew Brady’s assistants (Brady was one of the most famous American photographers).

Furthermore, the coin features the denomination, the country’s name, as well as the motto E pluribus unum. The popular motto In God We Trust was omitted. The word Liberty is placed on the obverse, to the left side of President Lincoln’s profile. To his right side, there is the year, as well as the mint mark (P, D, or S, indicating Philadelphia, Denver, as well as San Francisco Mint).

When it comes to the coin mintage, we’re talking about millions of one-cent specimens. The coins released into circulation were counted in millions, but there are also proof coins and other coin examples that were not available to a broader public. For exact numbers, consult the following table;

Date & Mintmark Mintage
1944 (No mint mark, Philadelphia Mint) 1,435,400,000
1944-D (Denver Mint) 430,578,000
1944-S (San Francisco Mint) 282,760,000
Total 2,148,338,000

Why is the 1944 steel penny so valuable?

The value of a 1944 Lincoln penny can vary significantly, and not all 1944 Lincoln pennies are valuable. Most of these pennies are made from copper and worth only a few cents. However, some are incredibly valuable due to errors or unique characteristics.

One of the most well-known and valuable 1944 Lincoln pennies is the 1944 Steel Lincoln Penny. Due to the pressures of World War II, the U.S. Mint decided to produce pennies from steel in 1943 to save copper for the war effort. The mint returned to using copper in 1944, but a few steel pennies were mistakenly minted that year, making them rare and valuable.

A 1944 Lincoln penny could also be valuable if it is in exceptional condition (graded as Mint State), especially if it has never been circulated.

The 1944 Lincoln penny can be valuable, especially if it’s a 1944-S Zinc-Coated Steel Lincoln Cent. This is an error coin, accidentally made from leftover zinc-coated steel blanks meant for 1943, instead of the copper meant to be used in 1944. The scarcity of this error and its excellent condition (Mint State) significantly increase its value.

This specific “steelie” penny is the only known Mint State example from the San Francisco mint, making it extraordinarily rare and thus, highly valuable. The coin’s excellent preservation and luster enhance its desirability among collectors, further driving up its price.

To determine the exact value of a 1944 Lincoln penny, it’s best to have it appraised by a professional coin dealer or grading service.

The 1944 Lincoln Penny Value: How Much Does it Worth Today?

When it comes to determining the current market value of the 1944 Lincoln penny value, we need to take a few things into consideration. For all, coins coming from different mints will have a slightly different value. The least valuable ones are the ones without any mint mark, indicating they were struck and issued in Philadelphia.

The 1944 Lincoln Cent - The 1944 Lincoln Penny Value

The 1944 Lincoln penny that contains a D mint mark was made in Denver, and as such is slightly more valuable. The most valuable pennies and coins in general were struck in the San Francisco Mint.  However, in this case, the Denver Mint 1944 penny is more valuable than the San Francisco one; we’ll explain more in the following paragraphs.

Furthermore, the grade of the coin is essential when it comes to its value as well. Any coin with a grade of MS 60 upwards is significantly more valuable than, for example, pennies and coins deemed to be of fine or good condition.

And, of course, if a coin is uncirculated (was never released into public use, or circulation), or if it’s a proof example, the value will increase significantly. Moreover, contrary to popular belief, error 1944 Lincoln pennies are also highly valuable. Let’s take a look at the approximate numbers for June 2023;

Grade 1944-D 1944-D/S
MS65 $2 $715
MS64 $0.60 $488
MS63 $0.40 $422
MS62 $0.30 $370
MS61 $0.27 $358
MS60 $0.25 $338

You can also take a look at this 1944 Lincoln Wheat penny chart of different value that depend very much on the condition of the coin;

Date Good Extremely Fine (EF) Uncirculated
1944 Wheat Penny 0.05




$.50-$12, (grade-dependent)
1944 Wheat Penny D 0.05 $0.20


$.40-$10 (grade-dependent)
1944 Wheat Penny S 0.05 $0.20 $.75-$10 (grade-dependent)

The USA Coin Book estimated the value of the 1944 Lincoln-D penny to be an average value of 81 USD. For a very fine condition, the estimated value is 115 USD, and for an extremely fine condition penny, one can get 203 USD, according to the current market. An uncirculated 1944-D Lincoln penny is worth 519 USD, while a brilliant uncirculated one is worth around 800 USD, on average. Furthermore, the 1944 Lincoln-S penny is estimated to be of an average value between 0.11 USD, and 4.63 USD (brilliant uncirculated), according to the current market. Let’s take a look at the highest estimated value of the 1944 Lincoln penny, up to June 2023;

  • The highest value of a 1944 Lincoln penny for a grade of MS 68 has reached 13,000 USD.  

The 1944 Lincoln Cent - 1944 Lincoln penny grade of MS 68


  • The highest value of a 1944 Steel Lincoln penny (est. 25-30 known), has reached 185,000 USD, for a grade MS 64.

The 1944 Lincoln Cent - 1944 Steel Lincoln penny

  • The highest value of a 1944 Lincoln-D penny has reached 9,500 USD, for a grade MS 68.

1944 Lincoln-D penny MS 68

  • The highest value of a 1944 Lincoln-D Steel penny (est. 7 known), has reached 90,000 USD, for a grade MS 63.

The 1944 Lincoln Cent - 1944 Lincoln-D Steel penny

  • The highest value of a 1944 Lincoln D/S penny has reached 57,000 USD, for a grade MS 67.

The 1944 Lincoln Cent - 1944 Lincoln-D Steel penny

  • The highest value of a 1944 Lincoln-S penny has reached 1850 USD, for a grade MS 67.

The 1944 Lincoln Cent - 1944 Lincoln-S penny

  • The highest value of a 1944 Lincoln-S Steel penny (est. 2 known), has reached 475,000 USD, for a grade MS 66 (the auction record is $408,000.00). This 1944-S Zinc-Coated Steel Lincoln Cent is highly valued due to its rarity and exceptional condition. It is an error coin, which means it was mistakenly produced with the wrong material. In this case, a leftover zinc-coated steel blank from 1943 was used instead of the expected copper, resulting in a “steelie” penny in a year when they weren’t meant to be made.Moreover, it’s the only Mint State (a high quality grade) example known of this specific error from the San Francisco mint, making it exceptionally rare. The coin is also preserved remarkably well and shows splendid luster, adding to its desirability. The coin sold previously in 1983 and 2018, but this specific piece stands out for its pristine condition and rarity.This Lincoln Cent is known as the finest “steelie” cent from any U.S. mint, making it a unique opportunity for collectors. As with any collector’s item, scarcity and condition are primary drivers of value, hence its high price.

The 1944 Lincoln Cent - 1944 Lincoln-S Steel penny

The Rarity of the 1944 Lincoln Penny

As we previously mentioned, the 1944 Lincoln penny was minted in hundreds of millions of specimens. These numbers don’t really show a true rarity when it comes to coins, especially the most valuable ones. Nevertheless, the 1944 penny has a high collector value for several reasons; it is over 75 years old, to put it like this, and it is overall infrequently seen by coin collectors. The rarest variety of the 1944 Lincoln penny is the 1944-D over D, as well as the 1944 steel/zinc penny. 

The 1944 Lincoln penny made out of steel is so rare that only around 30 of them are known to the global coin-collecting community. That is the reason behind the whopping 185,000 USD, evaluated for the 1944 Steel Lincoln penny, and the 475,000 USD for the extremely rare 1944 Lincoln-S Steel penny

Where to Find/Purchase 1944 Lincoln Penny?

Coming across a 1944 Lincoln penny isn’t as easy as it may seem at first, especially considering the high mintage numbers. Nevertheless, the hunt has been made easy by several online and local purchasing options, so let’s take a look at some of the best;

  • eBay – this is one of the best options for finding a good-condition 1944 Lincoln penny, mostly because it is like a giant online feal market. Now, because not every purchase on eBay is safe and reliable, we urge you to stay safe and be informed regarding whom you’re buying from, and what is it that you’re getting. Make sure to arm yourself with relevant information, so do your research and know what you’re looking for.
  • Etsy – if eBay is not your thing, then maybe you should try exploring Etsy for exceptional examples of the 1944 Lincoln penny. This is a more reliable and safe option for online purchasing of rare coins, especially because the prices vary and there is something for everyone’s budget. 
  • Antique coin shops – and if searching through the Internet isn’t your cup of tea either, we urge you to try out some of your local antique coin shops. Sometimes, the face-to-face experience is probably the best, especially if you know what to look for. Looking at a coin directly can sometimes reveal some wear and tear that would normally be hidden in images posted online. 
  • Auction houses – bidding at auctions for rare and exceptional coins is pretty fun. So, why not try it out, especially if you’re looking for the 1944 Lincoln penny? Auction houses have coin experts on site, and they can appraise the item/coin straight away. Sure, this is a more formal, and definitely expensive option, but it is ultimately the safest one out of the previously mentioned ones.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this brief trip into the history of the iconic 1944 Lincoln penny. The insights provided in this article will help you in your purchasing/selling journey, so make sure to read it thoroughly. Of course, we always urge our readers to consult appraisal experts and online appraisal services, so they know what they’re getting for their hard-earned money.

The value of the 1944 Lincoln penny changes, depending on a number of factors as we’ve mentioned. Make sure to get all the necessary information about a specific coin before committing to a purchase/sale. We also need to mention that the current market shows an increase in the value of the 1944 Lincoln coin, so hurry up before the prices have skyrocketed. Good luck and happy collecting!

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  1. Hello, My name is Karen and I am
    A coin collector, My husband and I started collecting coins years ago due to my husband going through Cancer needed a hobby
    To help him get through what
    He was going through at that time. Well to make this story short, My Husband passed away
    Last year in November and now
    It doesn’t feel the same anymore.
    I know that I have a lot of coins
    Worth a tons of money and need
    To find someone who will take the time to see what I have and
    Give me a good price $$$$ I just
    Need someone honest to talk with me about them. Thank you

    1. Hello Mrs.Karen. My name is TanyaI live in NYC. Here we have two major coin collectors houses. They are Stacks and Heritage. If your ever in the NYC area you should visit these places. If you ever would like to talk or ask me any questions. Please do so via my email at: [email protected].

    2. Katelyn hammond says:

      I’d love to take some of those coins from u and may have an interested buyer I’m n ca but get back to me and we’ll go from there I have a Facebook but my email is [email protected]

  2. Valerie Corona says:

    I have 1944 steel R2-D2

  3. Kelli Jones says:

    I have a lot of coins some wheat penny’s one 1909 I read was really valuable and a 1921 I have some error coins I was wanting to get a hold of some one to sale them too I heard the Heritage Auction was a good place to sale coins and would give good and fair price’s please give me a call here is my information I will send pics thanks.

    1. I have close to 400 1944 pennies some with a p, some with a D, some with an s, a good amount of them all different color brown, Some of them reddish. I’m wondering what’s what’s a good way or the right way to clean these pennies.

      1. Ryan Goshorn says:

        Don’t ever Clean your coins!

    2. I have soooooo many wheat pennies I have s 1943 steel wheat penny it’s the only one that sticks to a magnet I have a 1910 wheat penny I have about 10 1955s some with a d some with an s I got a 1926 I just keep collecting them don’t really wanna sell them though just collecting them cause I think there cool looking

  4. Judy smith says:

    I have 2 of 44 penny don’t have a r or s

  5. Linda Adams says:

    I have a wheat envy with no date or less on the liberty. I’m in ca. and really need a grader and or collector to valuate my coins also have 1943 steel pennies silver 1964 quarter and 50 cent piece. Please help me find an honest grader/collector.
    Sincerly, [email protected]

  6. Charlene Hill says:

    Are there anyone here that knows anything about Stamp collection? I inherited a stamp collection from one of my customers that I clean for…I know Nothing about stamps…I got them because they were going to throw them in the trash…

  7. Ryan Goshorn says:

    So I have a 1944 D steel penny. When I bought it I weighed checked it with a magnet and viewed it with an electronic coin microscope and from what I could tell everything checked out so I made the purchase. I was going to have it sent off to be graded but sending something like that through the mail makes me really nervous. Also the coin grading companies aren’t very clear on what they would charge for error coins or how to submit a coin that is believed to be an error. I also have a regular 1944 D penny that is in extremely good condition that I used as a reference when I purchased the steel one. I live in Washington State and don’t know where to go to from here. Obviously i would love to sell the penny. My email is [email protected] please if you have any info that will help me please reach out. Thank you in advance.

    1. Send it by registered and insured mail to the PSA grading company. They will charge you around 30 to $50 to grade your penny so it must be worth grading in order to pay that fee. They are totally reliable and they are the industry standard for grading coins

  8. Francis A Ramirez says:

    I have rarest coins I don’t know who I can talk to! I know that I have a lot of coins
    Worth a tons of money and need
    To find someone who will take the time to see what I have and
    Give me a good price 💰💵 I just
    Need someone honest to talk with me about them. Thank you!!

  9. I have rarest coins I don’t know who I can talk to! I know that I have a lot of coins
    Worth a tons of money and need
    To find someone who will take the time to see what I have and
    Give me a good price!!! I just
    Need someone honest to talk with me about them. Thank you email me [email protected]

  10. James lamb says:

    I have several wheat pennies 3 43 steel pennies s d no mint mark. I have several 1800 pennies buffalo nickels I would like to sale all of them to buy a motorcycle

  11. Toni Marie says:

    I too have some coins I’d like to ask about.
    But, I too, have a signed photo of Royalty 1883, does anyone know who I can enquire its value?
    Or who is interested?
    Thanks, battle born Native at hotmail

  12. Got a 1944 1938 1940 1041 1938 pennies and a lot more collections of pennies

  13. Rachel N Engelke says:

    I have a uncirculated 1944 no mint wheat penny I want to sell it any suggestions pls

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