1944, 1945 & 1946 Philadelphia Lincoln Cent Set, Brilliant Uncirculated. Most collectors are familiar with World War II steel cents, but did you know that the U.S. Mint recycled spent shell casings to produce pennies?
As World War II raged on, copper became a critical metal for munitions — so much so, that in 1943, copper pennies were replaced with zinc-coated steel. These steel pennies became such a headache (they caused problems in vending machines, were mistaken for dimes and rusted quickly) that the U.S. Mint had to devise another solution to replace the cent.
In 1944, the Mint began producing Lincoln cents using recycled shell casings and continued to do so until 1946. The metal composition of these coins differed only slightly from previous cents as they contained no tin. This three coin set represents an excellent example of American ingenuity and commitment to the war effort.