Description and Analysis

Lincoln Cents, Wheat Reverse
1944 S 1C MS

Description & Analysis

1944-S cents were made in large numbers, but this mintage could have been much higher. The San Francisco Mint ceased coining cents after July of that year to concentrate its bronze (actually brass) production on Philippine one-centavo coins, as it was expected that this commonwealth would be liberated shortly.

1944-S cents, while common in fully red gem, require careful examination by potential buyers. Regardless of the numeric grade assigned, these coins may have signs of extreme die erosion such as that seen on the reverse die above (photo). From 1944 through the end of production in 1955, quality control at the San Francisco Mint fell to lows not seen since the mid 1920s.

That the emphasis was clearly on quantity rather than quality is illustrated by an innovation that occurred at the SFM in 1944. Two employees devised a dual die-pair collar that could thus strike two coins in one blow of the press. This improved output by 90%, but it reduced the frequency with which worn dies were replaced, since shutting the press would henceforth take two die pairs out of action instead of one.

Several repunched mintmark varieties are known for this issue, but none are particularly compelling.