Face Value: 1944 Cents

Posted on 3/14/2023

Keep an eye out for ones with a steel planchet or Denver issues with a mintmark on top of another mintmark.

In 1944, the tide was turning in World War II decisively in favor of the Allies. And things were starting to get back to normal at the US Mint. The Mint was able to return to mostly copper planchets to strike cents, rather than using the zinc-coated steel ones for cents dated 1943.

Today, most cents that have the Wheat Ears Reverse (used from 1909 to 1958) have been cleared from circulation, but it is still possible to find them. If you do come across one, there are few things to look for: its condition, its composition and a possible 'D' mintmark struck over another mintmark.

The worth of a 1944 Lincoln Cent will vary depending on the mint facility, grade and variety. (The US Mint was not producing Proof Cents at the time, so all were business strikes.) Another factor determining the market value is whether the coin has a Red (RD), Red-Brown (RB) or Brown (BN) designation. Specific criteria for the Lincoln Cent to be eligible for these designations is as follows:

  • RD - exhibits at least 85% of its original red luster
  • RB - exhibits at least 15% of its original red luster
  • BN - exhibits less than 15% of its original red luster

Typical 1944 Lincoln Cents

Over 2 billion 1944 Lincoln Cents were struck, including 1.435 billion at Philadelphia, 430 million at San Francisco and 282 million in Denver. Today, typical examples in grades lower than Mint State are worth less than a dollar. For Mint State examples, values include:

  • 1944 BN: $3.50 in MS 63 to $35 in MS 67
  • 1944 RB: $4.75 in MS 63 to $55 in MS 67
  • 1944 RD: $9 in MS 63 to $225 in MS 67
  • 1944-D BN: $1.75 in MS 63 to $35 in MS 67
  • 1944-D RB: $4.75 in MS 63 to $40 in MS 67
  • 1944-D RD: $8.25 in MS 63 to $150 in MS 67
  • 1944-S BN: $2.50 in MS 63 to $40 in MS 67
  • 1944-S RB: $2.75 in MS 63 to $50 in MS 67
  • 1944-S RD: $8 in MS 63 to $120 in MS 67

To learn more about the Lincoln Cents and see the latest values from the NGC Price Guide, visit NGC Coin Explorer.

1944-S Cent
Click images to enlarge.

Steel 1944 Lincoln Cents (Transitional Error)

To save copper for the war effort, the US Mint switched to zinc-coated steel planchets for the 1943 Cents. However, a handful of 1943 Cents were mistakenly struck using the mostly copper planchets. Today, these Transitional Errors rank among some of the greatest rarities in US numismatics.

When the US Mint switched back to mostly copper planchets for the 1944 Cents, a handful of Transitional Errors occurred again, this time with a very small number of Cents being struck using the unexpected zinc-coated steel planchets. This is believed to have occurred because these planchets became lodged in the US Mint totes and didn't come loose until after the new planchets were introduced.

Steel 1944 Lincoln Cents have been found with the 'S' mintmark (for San Francisco), the 'D' mintmark (for Denver) and the lack of a mintmark (for Philadelphia). Their more famous 1943 older brothers generally sell for over $100,000 at auction, but the 1944 Steel Transitional Errors still sell for a pretty penny, as well: typically over $10,000. Philadelphia examples are more common, which is credited to the fact that the Mint facility there was striking Belgian coins using the steel planchets.

Cents struck with the steel planchets are expected to weigh 2.70 grams, compared to 3.11 grams for one struck with mostly copper planchets used at the time.

1944 Cent - Steel
Click images to enlarge.

1944 Lincoln Cents Varieties

There are a dozen varieties recognized in NGC VarietyPlus, nearly all involving mintmarks punched over other mintmarks. They include a 1944-D/S variety known as FS-512 shown here, where traces of the 'S' can be seen behind the D. An example of the FS-512 variety graded NGC MS 66 RD realized $1,020 at a Heritage Auctions sale in October 2022. This is over 20 times what a simliarly graded 1944-D without the variety would be expected to sell for.

1944-D/S Cent - FS-512 variety
Click images to enlarge.

Other varieties include several D/D overmintmarks, including FS-502 shown at right here. Check out all the varieties available for 1944 Cents in VarietyPlus.

Close-up of 1944-D/S FS-512 variety (left) and 1944-D/D FS-502 variety
Click images to enlarge.

All values are based on the NGC Price Guide as of March 2023.

Related Links:

Stay Informed

Want news like this delivered to your inbox once a month? Subscribe to the free NGC eNewsletter today!


You've been subscribed to the NGC eNewsletter.

Unable to subscribe to our eNewsletter. Please try again later.

Articles List

Add Coin

Join NGC for free to add coins, track your collection and participate in the NGC Registry. Learn more >

Join NGC

Already a member? Sign In
Add to NGC Coin Registry Example
The NGC Registry is not endorsed by or associated with PCGS or CAC. PCGS is a registered trademark of Collectors Universe, Inc. CAC is a trademark of Certified Acceptance Corporation.