San Diego man sues feds over penny

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego man and an antique shop owner in La Jolla have entered a legal battle with the U.S. government over a penny.

WScreen Shot 2014-04-09 at 6.05.09 PMhen Randy Lawrence brought his rare penny to the La Jolla Coin Shop he was pleasantly surprised.  The coin is one of a kind; a Denver minted, aluminum penny, estimated to be worth about $250,000.

“It was kind of a treasure in the attic story,” he said. “I never thought it would have this kind of a value.”

Coin experts said the coin was a product of a failed attempt by the U.S. Mint to replace copper pennies with aluminum ones in the 70s-  all the coins were supposed to be destroyed.

Lawrence, a real-estate agent, said he doesn’t know exactly how his father, who worked at the U.S. Mint in Denver for years, ended up with one of the aluminum pennies.

Lawrence and coin shop owner Michael McConnell planned to auction it at a big coin convention in Chicago later this month, but that plan had to be put on hold.

“We got the letter from the government wanting the coin back,” said Lawrence.

The feds said the aluminum penny was never issued as legal currency and therefore it is government property.

Lawrence and McConnell are taking their case to a federal judge claiming they are the rightful owners of this pretty penny.

5 comments

  • anonymou

    "Lawrence, a real-estate agent, said he doesn’t know exactly how his father, who worked at the U.S. Mint in Denver for years, ended up with one of the aluminum pennies."

    It is a total mystery, is it not?

    • toveri

      I think they may have access to the internet,
      the secret service is watching for the sale and transfer of money, ink and paper
      all the time.

      • jim

        I get that part, and maybe they did advertise it online, but it seems like people with these highly collectible items always end up getting caught up with the government somehow. When will people learn to take it to dealers in person, no internet nonsense, and if possible no personal information should be made – it isn't a pawn process, I have sold collectibles before so not all states require ID to make a sale.

        I am all about people paying normal taxes and whatnot but this seems to happen a lot.

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.