Now that the U.S.
Mint has successfully recovered the aluminum 1974-D Lincoln cent
once held by a former Denver Mint deputy superintendent, U.S. Mint
officials said they could pursue recovery of the only known
Philadelphia Mint-struck 1974 aluminum cent in collector hands if they
knew its location.
"The government draws no distinction between the piece
recovered this week and any other 1974-dated aluminum cent piece that
may exist." Tom Jurkowsky, director of the U.S. Mint's Office of
Corporate Communications, said March 22. "A limited number of
1974-dated aluminum cent pieces were produced, all were withheld from
circulation, and none were lawfully issued for release as legal
tender. If at some point we are presented with specific information
concerning the whereabouts of any other 1974-dated aluminum cent
piece, we will take the appropriate next steps to retrieve it as well."
The extant 1974 aluminum cent that the U.S. Mint is considering to
seek return of has been referred to as the Albert P. Toven specimen.
The 1974 aluminum cent was reported to have been retrieved by a U.S.
Capitol police officer after it was dropped by an unnamed congressman
who had received samples from U.S. Mint officials during a
congressional hearing on composition alternatives for the cent.
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Graders authenticated, graded and encapsulated the Toven piece as
About Uncirculated 58 in July 2005, and identfied the Toven pedigree
on the grading label insert. In October 2005, the Toven cent was
crossed over into a Professional Coin Grading Service holder and
graded Mint State 62. The Toven pedigree does not appear on the PCGS
grading label insert.
While the 1974-D aluminum cent, which PCGS graded and encapsulated
MS-63, is listed in the PCGS Population Report, the Toven 1974
aluminum cent is not. The 1974-D aluminum cent was removed from its
PCGS holder and placed into a separate plastic coin capsule before
being turned over to authorities March 17, 2016.
The only other known 1974 aluminum cent extant from that
experimental production seeking a composition alternative is in the National Numismatic Collection in the
Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American History.
Randall Lawrence, son of former Denver Mint Deputy Supterintent
Harry Lawrence, and Michael McConnell, the La Jolla Coin Shop owner in
California to whom Randall Lawrence sold the 1974-D aluminum cent in
September 2013, turned the coin over to U.S. Mint officials March 17
at the federal building in San Diego, ending litigation to determine
ownership rights. U.S. Mint officials contend the 1974-D aluminum cent
was never officially authorized and was the property of the U.S.
government and illegal to be privately owned.
Randall Lawrence had inherited the 1974-D aluminum cent along with a
group of other coins from his father.
The 1974-D aluminum cent was scheduled to be sold by Heritage Auctions in
its April 2014 Central States Numismatic Society convention sale, but
was pulled by auction officials pending the outcome of Randall
Lawrence and McConnell's lawsuit.