U.S. Mint takes possession of aluminum 1974-D Lincoln cent after ruling

Former 'owners' say relinquishing unique piece was the right thing to do
By , Coin World
Published : 03/25/16
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The only known example of the 1974-D Lincoln aluminum cent has been returned to the U.S. Mint, settling a dispute between two men and the Mint. 

Tom Jurkowsky, the U.S. Mint’s director of corporate communications, told Coin World March 18 that Bill Bailey, assistant chief of police of the U.S. Mint, and U.S. Mint Chief Counsel Jean Gentry took possession of the 1974-D aluminum cent on March 17 in San Diego. Jurkowsky said Treasury and U.S. Mint officials will confer on plans to publicly display the piece. Jurkowsky did not disclose where the 1974-D aluminum cent will be stored in the meantime.

“Regarding where it is going, we are first going to authenticate the piece,” Jurkowsky told Coin World. “For security reasons, we would prefer not to say where that will take place. We will then decide where the piece will reside.” 

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Before being taken into custody by U.S. Mint officials, the 1974-D aluminum cent was cracked out of its Professional Coin Grading Service Secure holder where it was graded Mint State 63.

Using a pair of nippers, Michael McConnell, owner of La Jolla Coin Shop in La Jolla, Calif., who was one of the two private claimants to the coin, broke the seal on the grading service holder and carefully removed the aluminum cent in its rubberized ring so as not to damage the cent.

McConnell then removed the ring and placed the coin into another plastic capsule before the cent was eventually turned over to authorities at the federal building in San Diego.

The cracking out of the aluminum cent from its PCGS entombment and transfer to another coin capsule was captured by television cameras from stations in San Diego.

McConnell has kept the cracked holder with the grading label insert still inside as a souvenir of the experience. McConnell said it cost him $2,000 to have the aluminum piece authenticated, graded and encapsulated by PCGS.

PCGS officials have not disclosed whether certification of the 1974-D aluminum cent will remain in the PCGS Population Report since the aluminum piece is no longer encapsulated in a PCGS holder.

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