The 1974-D Aluminum Cent is a unique item that came to the attention of the numismatic world in 2013 when it walked into a San Diego coin shop. The coin was promptly certified as an MS63 by PCGS and negotiations were made with Heritage to sell the coin at auction in conjunction with the April 2014 Central States Numismatic Society's annual convention. However, once the Secret Service got wind of the coin, they sought its immediate recall and the coin was withdrawn from the Heritage sale. As of this writing (May 2014), ownership of the coin is being litigated.
The coin was believed to have been struck in 1974 as an experiment to replace the copper Cents then being produced. The cost of copper had risen so high in 1974 that the cost of producing a Cent was often equal to or greater than its face value. While most of these experiments took place at the main mint in Philadelphia, apparently some Denver employees were perfoming a few experiments of their own. Experts believe that this is the only example to have survived of the Denver experiments.
After the coin was struck in 1974, it ended up in the hands of the Assistant Superintendent of the Denver Mint, a Mr. Harry Edmond Lawrence. Mr. Lawrence held it until his death in 1990, after which the coin passed to his son, Randy Lawrence, who eventually brought it into the San Diego coin shop.
According to the experts who examined the coin, it is a genuine piece of the same weight and fabric as the 1974 Aluminum Cents. There is no doubt that this is a real coin -- our only hope is that it will be allowed to enter the numismatic market rather than being destroyed by the government or being relegated to a hiding place where it can no longer be viewed and enjoyed.
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