Rare penny could be worth $2 million

By Patrick Santomauro, Producer, psantomauro@wkmg.com
Published On: Jan 31 2014 08:24:20 AM EST
Updated On: Jan 31 2014 08:24:48 AM EST

To most people, a 1974 penny is worth one cent. To one San Diego man, it could fetch him a bit more.

LA JOLLA, Calif. -

To most people, a 1974 penny is worth one cent. For one San Diego man, it could fetch millions.

Randy Lawrence found out the penny left to him 30 years ago by his father may be worth anywhere from $250,000 to $2 million.

Lawrence told KFMB-TV that for years, the unique penny was left inside a plastic sandwich bag with several other coins collected by his father. Lawrence's dad served as the deputy superintendent of the Denver Mint.

"We assumed he must have felt it was just another souvenir from his days working at the mint," Lawrence told KFMB-TV.

When Lawrence recently moved from Colorado to California, he left the coin in the trunk of his car for a month. When he discovered it, he brought it into a local coin shop to have it appraised.

At first, the shop owner, Michael McConnell, valued the penny at $300.

"I did a little more research on it and realized it might be something a little more special than I originally thought," McConnell told KFMB-TV.

McConnell discovered the coin was a 1974-D aluminum penny. Only ten of the coins were ever made and it was believed that all of them were destroyed. The coins were made as as a test, but they didn't work in vending machines and didn't show up in a X-rays.

"Basically, [this] was a discovery piece that nobody necessarily knew existed," McConnell told KFMB-TV.

Lawrence and McConnell plan to to donate at least $100,000 of their earnings to homeless programs. Lawrence says he'll also use the money to pay for his children's college tuition.

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