HomeUS CoinsThe Rare 1974-D Aluminum Cent | CoinWeek Exclusive

The Rare 1974-D Aluminum Cent | CoinWeek Exclusive


At the 2016 American Numismatic Association’s (ANA) World’s Fair of Money, the United States Mint gave attendees a chance to view the recently discovered 1974-D Aluminum cent experimental pattern coin.

Originally slated for auction in 2014, the cent was the subject of a multi-year legal dispute between the heir of a Denver Mint official and the United States Government.

In 2016, the government prevailed and took custody of the important numismatic rarity.

CoinWeek pointed its camera at the coin as it rotated in its display case.


At least one cent was picked up in 2014, that is by the mainstream media…

The long rumored to exist, but never confirmed 1974-D aluminum cent caused quite a stir when PCGS confirmed its existence in January 2014. The experimental pattern coin was owned by Randall Lawrence, who sold it to La Jolla California coin dealer Michael McConnell.

Lawrence came into possession of the coin after his father, Harry Edmond Lawrence, passed away. The older Lawrence served as Deputy Superintendent of the Denver Mint at the time the experimental coin was struck.

The younger Lawrence and McConnell consigned the coin to Heritage Auctions, which planned to offer the coin at the 2014 Central States Numismatic Society (CSNS) Platinum Night auction. But it never came to pass.

Having caught wind of the rare cent, the Treasury Department attempted to retake possession. As the court process played out, conflicting rulings gave hope that the coin might actually remain in private hands.

Those hopes ground to a halt in March of 2016, when a settlement between McConnell and Lawrence and the Treasury saw the coin returned to the United States Mint. In a press release issued at the time, the United States Mint Principal Deputy Director said that the coin’s return was “not only good for the integrity of the coin collecting hobby but also for the integrity of the government property and rule of law.”

At the ANA in Anaheim, some 90 miles from the site of the coin’s discovery, the 1974-D aluminum cent was on display – underneath secure glass, on an endlessly spinning pedestal.

And while the legal issues surrounding the government’s selective prosecution on these matters are enough to make ones head spin, we’ll just have to enjoy this ultra high definition footage of an aluminum cent worth several hundred times more than its weight in gold

For CoinWeek I’m editor Charles Morgan signing off – Happy Collecting.

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This video program was filmed in 4K resolution for maximum video quality. Click the “Watch on YouTube” button to view video at maximum resolution.

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  1. Members of the U S Assay Commission, who met at the Philadelphia Mint in February of that year did see and handle two of these coins.


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