Man learns that for decades, he was holding onto rare aluminum penny worth hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions

Will Lerner
Odd NewsJanuary 31, 2014

Real estate agent Randy Lawrence of La Jolla, California had something incredibly valuable and didn’t even realize it. KFMB Channel 8 News is reporting that the 56-year-old man had inherited an odd, silver-colored penny from his father, a former deputy superintendent of the Denver Mint, over 30 years ago and didn’t think much of it. Even when he recently moved from Colorado to the Sunshine State, he kept it in his trunk for over a month. Turns out he was riding around with quite a fortune.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Mr. Lawrence finally got around to looking into the coin and brought it, along with others kept in a sandwich baggy, to the La Jolla Coin Shop and sold them to store owner Michael McConnell. McConnell at first thought it was a, “low-value souvenir from a foreign mint.”

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However, after doing more research, McConnell made a big-time discovery. As the Union-Tribune writes, “…the coin was actually a never-before-seen 1974-D aluminum penny from the Denver Mint.” Then McConnell did something very cool. Despite having bought the coin from Randy, he decided to let him know that he hadn’t paid nearly enough for what the coin was actually worth.

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Lawrence told KFMB how pleased he was with Michael being so forthright because, “[McConnell] could’ve sold this coin.” McConnell said he never thought about doing anything differently, telling the station, “When we misjudge something, it’s only right of us to then to go make that right.”

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The coin will be auctioned in Chicago this April. Lawrence told KFMB that he’s heard it could be worth up to $2 million. He and McConnell have agreed to split the jackpot and on top of that, will donate up to $100K to local homeless programs. These guys. So great.

More info: KFMB, The San Diego Union-Tribune