Tom DeLorey submitted this great background tale of the Denver-area afterlife of 1943 Steel Cent planchet strips.
The recent issue illustrated a nice example of a piece of 1943 steel cent planchet strip. This part of the story concerning the strip is fairly well known, but just in case a few of your readers are unfamiliar with it I will tell it again.
Some time after I started working for ANACS in 1978, fellow Authenticator Ed Fleischmann showed me a similar piece of the webbing and told me that he had gotten it from a dealer up in Denver. The dealer told Ed that during World War Two when a lot of wartime housing was being built fast and cheap, some builders in Denver were forced to use substandard plywood for their roofs. To reinforce the roofs, certain builders nailed down long strips of the steel cent webbing that they got from the Denver Mint.
The Mint was getting its steel cent strip pre-galvanized and rolled from some steel mill. After it punched out the blanks, it had no facility to remelt the webbing into new strip, or galvanize it after they did. The one steel mill in Colorado, Colorado Foundry and Iron in Pueblo, allegedly did not want it as scrap steel because of the zinc galvanization. So, the Mint offered it for sale locally, the builders used it for roofing, and when the wartime housing started needing new roofs 30+ years later the re-roofers salvaged quantities of the webbing and sold it to coin dealers. The dealers cut it up and sold it as shown.
Often it is badly oxidized, but it can be reprocessed like the cents themselves. The longest piece I have ever seen was about five feet.
I was unfamiliar with this great story. Thanks! Stories of streets paved with gold are a dime a dozen, but a roof made of planchet strips?
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NUMISMATIC NUGGETS: NOVEMBER 24, 2019 : 1943 Steel Cent Planchet Strip
Wayne Homren, Editor
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