Copper in the Arts

October 2018

Money Museum Showcases Million Dollar 1943 Cent

The Edward C. Rochette Money Museum in Colorado Springs is displaying a copper cent valued at over $1 million. On loan to the museum, this 1943 Lincoln cent is one of the finest known examples. While they look like regular-issue cents of any other year, they are incredibly rare, and have been famous since one was first discovered in 1944.

cent.jpgThis rare 1943 Lincoln cent is only 1 of 15 known in the world.

Photograph courtesy of The Money Museum. 

This rare cent is one of approximately 15 examples found in circulation. Known as error coins, these rare pennies were made using copper instead of zinc, and were never intended to be struck. At the time, copper was needed for World War II, and this set of coins were supposed to be made using zinc-coated steel planchets.

Other numismatic multi-million dollar rarities on display at the Money Museum include two 1913 Liberty Head nickels, the Rittenhouse 1792 half disme and two 1804 silver dollars.

No one is sure how or why the five 1913 Liberty Head nickels were produced. Over the years, they have earned the title of the world’s most valuable coin on several occasions and have consistently been among the price leaders in the numismatic market – one sold during the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money in August for $4.5 million.

The 1792 half disme is the first coinage of the United States Mint. Ratification of the Constitution in 1789 gave the federal government the exclusive right to produce coinage and provided for the establishment of the United States Mint. The Money Museum is fortunate to display two examples of this rare and historic coin, including the finest known example that once belonged to David Rittenhouse, first Director of the Mint. The half disme recently sold for $2 million after being on display at the World’s Fair of Money.


The Edward C. Rochette Money Museum, 818 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, CO.

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