The $250,000 Aluminum Penny Found in a Desk Drawer

1974-d aluminum penny
This latest gold hoard finding reminded me of that 1974-D Aluminum Penny found just last month – the ONLY one in the world verified to exist! Remember that?

Apparently a guy (Randy Lawrence) inherited it, along with his dad’s coin collection, and after 30+ years of it just chillin’ in a desk drawer thinking it was some sort of worthless souvenir, it was finally checked out by a dealer. This dealer eventually bought it, but then shortly after pinged him back once he realized what they had had on their hands this whole time: A never before seen (to the public) aluminum cent!

Pretty wild stuff. And to make the story even better, both the dealer and the son agreed to split it, as well as donate $100,000 to local homeless programs in the area. How cool is that?

Here’s a clip by on what makes this aluminum find so rare, along with the rest of the story if you’re interested in checking it out:

“In the early 1970s, copper prices were so high that the cost of producing a penny was more than one cent, so the U.S. Mint began experimenting with other metals. The Philadelphia Mint pressed 1.5 million aluminum pennies, but before they were released into circulation, the coins were withdrawn and destroyed because they wouldn’t work in vending machines or show up in X-rays if swallowed… It wasn’t until 2001 that reports surfaced about a small batch of 10 aluminum pennies that had been pressed at the Denver Mint in 1974. But because none of the coins had ever been seen, it was presumed they were all destroyed.”

It’ll be interesting to see how much it ends up going for in April when it’s auctioned! To think someone’s going to pony up hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single penny is pretty mind-blowing though, haha… Not that it should be that much of a shock being collectors ourselves :)

Anyways, another good reminder to keep our eyes open out there. Never know what’s laying in the lurk around us!


UPDATE: On March 17, 2016, Lawrence and McConnell surrendered the penny to the U.S. Mint…

“Randall planned on selling it in a public auction, but the Mint demanded its return, saying that the coin was never authorized for release and therefore remains U.S. Government property. Lawrence (and his business partner at their coin store, Michael McConnell) ultimately surrendered the coin when the Mint showed that the aluminum cent had never been authorized to be struck in Denver, and there was no evidence that the coin had been a gift of any kind…. ” – Wikipedia


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