February 23, 1943: First Steel Pennies Minted in the US

During World War II shortages in copper caused the Treasury to begin minting on February 23, 1943 pennies made of zinc covered steel.  The new pennies were 13% lighter than the old pennies.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, but problems quickly cropped up.  The steel pennies were easily confused with dimes.   The zinc steel alloy was magnetized and magnets in vending machines, which picked out slugs, now also picked out the steel pennies.  Worst of all, the steel pennies easily rusted when exposed to any moisture, including human sweat.  The public outcry against the steel pennies was immediate and persistent. (more…)

Published in: on February 23, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on February 23, 1943: First Steel Pennies Minted in the US  
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