Skip to comments.San Diego Man Sues U.S. Government Over a Penny
Posted on 04/09/2014 7:34:27 PM PDT by DogByte6REREdited on 04/09/2014 7:36:11 PM PDT by Admin Moderator. [history]
SAN DIEGO — A San Diego man and an antique shop owner in La Jolla have entered a legal battle with the U.S. government over a penny.
When Randy Lawrence brought his rare penny to the La Jolla Coin Shop he was pleasantly surprised. The coin is one of a kind; a Denver minted, aluminum penny, estimated to be worth about $250,000.
(Excerpt) Read more at fox5sandiego.com ...
In for a penny, in for a pound.
if it was never issued as legal tender than it does not have a one penny value.
if the feds then claim its a stolen item ...offer em a modern copper penny.
Feds claim it was never issued as legal tender and want it back.
$250,000 is worth a penny. Ka-ching!
Fantastic numismatic! I hope he wins.
But I'm sure he could make an intelligent guess as to how it ended up in his possession.
Unfortunately for Mr. Lawrence, the government is going to end up with the penny and Mr. Lawrence is going to end up penniless (so to speak)
Once again, an example of people not keeping their mouths shut. Unfortunately, I expect the government will prevail in this case.
Just watch this case; the U.S. Government will spend lots of taxpayer dollars to get back a single penny made out of aluminum. Our National Debt is over $17 Trillion ... and counting.
Say, what is happening with those cans of Gold Coins that somebody found buried in California?
Folks dumb enough to reveal the entire find at one time, thereby hinting the coins were stolen from the mint in the early 1900’s......
I’d lose the penny.
Ooops....had it in my pocket and....shucks...not there.
Folks dumb enough to reveal the entire find at one time, thereby hinting the coins were stolen from the mint in the early 1900s......
They seemed to have downsized their profile to a significant degree.
Yeah, I would just claim that I lost it. Then what would they do?
Given the publicity this case has gotten, the value of these Pennies and similar coins will likely be next to $0 for a collector, because they’ll be afraid to pay much, fearing they could be confiscated.
Looks like the Cali Gold Coin couple have a great case for keeping them!
Dates too early to be from the mint heist.
Now they just have to fight with the IRS and Guv Brown to see if they can keep more than half the sale price.
What he should have done was to take it to another country and quietly sell it there. I think when he found out it might be worth $250,000 he lost his mind.
He knows his father pilfered the coin. It is stolen property and as such as soon as it is discovered the title reverts back to the original owner.
The coin dealer better be glad he didn’t buy it for $250,000. If the government found out after the transfer, the coin dealer would have been out the $250,000 and the penny.
See Post #13
Five years for lying to the FBI.
Does anyone think the feral gubmint is above “seizing” this coin, then turning around and auctioning it themselves?
“Id lose the penny.
Ooops....had it in my pocket and....shucks...not there.”
Or maybe got stuck to one of the guns you’ve lost?
Proving a negative is a pretty high bar in a court of law. I understand the IRS has done it with great success though.
“Honest, occifer-dropped the penny when my boat capsized and all my guns went overboard.”
I don’t think we can be certain that it was pilfered. I’m betting there was a time between when they were produced and when they were destroyed. It might have been picked up off the floor. It might have been someone saying to a boss: “hey, can I have one of these?”
The article doesn’t say how many were minted, but pennies in the 70’s were still just pennies. You’d find them lying on the sidewalk, in overstuffed furniture, in car ashtrays. They weren’t highly valued.
They could have been loosely handled between the time when they were going to be used all the way to the time they were decided against.
That would still make him NOT the legitimate owner, but we don’t have to conclude they were pilfered.
“Just watch this case; the U.S. Government will spend lots of taxpayer dollars to get back a single penny made out of aluminum. Our National Debt is over $17 Trillion ... and counting.”
Oh, so on the mark.
So it is govt owned if it's issued as legal currency and it is govt owned if it WASN'T issued as legal tender.
Bureaucrat thinking at it's stupidest.
A little word of advice to those who come across such rare finds: use discretion, and KEEP YOU MOUTH SHUT!
If the government finds out that you have something of value, that they can tax or confiscate, they will do exactly that, and you WILL lose.
If the government never intended for the coin to leave the mint, then the government has a claim on it forever.
It is just like if you find a sunken Spanish Warship from 1650 loaded with gold, the Spanish Government will lay claim to 100% of the treasure. That is why, if you are diving and you find a Spanish warship, you never tell anybody about it.
Likewise, if you happen to find a Denver mint 1974 aluminum penny, you’d better not try to sell it in the United States.
I can imagine some unusual scenarios in which the man might legitimately have the penny, but they require us to imagine a time when that Mint actually thought those coins were going into circulation.
Theoretically, we can maintain that the government never intends mis-stamped or badly stamped coins to leave the mint. Therefore, valuable deviant coins belong to the Mint as coins that were supposed to be thrown away.
In any case, I agree with you. Shut up. Find a buyer and bank your winnings. That’s what I’ve done with all the bitcoins I’ve found buried in my back yard.
But they do. I found a double die penny once and before I could ever get it appraised it was stolen. I was a stupid 12 year old kid and I let a "friend" borrow it and his house was conveniently robbed. The penny had been in circulation for a long time when I found it. It was badly misshapen and I could not understand how it ever got out of the mint. It was probably at the end of a roll and somehow just slipped through. Unfortunately I never got it documented so I could not claim it if it showed up somewhere today.
That’s one of those things you’d like to know the truth of before you kicked the bucket. Find thee ‘friend’ and ask. After all these years he might be honest.
I was dumb then. Today I would have cataloged it and had it insured. I had a lot of really interesting coins that I had bought and found. The double die was a find. At the time a 55 double die in good condition was going for about $5000. This one was actually unique. I think it was a 58 but it was only in fair condition (which is pretty shocking for a coin that was obviously something out of the ordinary). Since it was in relatively poor condition, I doubt if it was worth more than a couple thousand. But if I still had it when I was 16, I could have bought a nice restored 55 Chevy and been instantly in the "in crowd". Instead I drove a 61 Rambler Station Wagon to school and was numbered among the untouchables.
A 61 Rambler Station Wagon....I drove a 64 Ford Falcon. Your Rambler gets the untouchable prize, but a falcon was never quite right.
I got rid of the Rambler when the front wheel fell off.
I bought a 57 Plymouth Fury (which moved me into the almost cool crowd) and then I ended up in my senior year with a 59 MGA (which immediately moved me into the really cool category).
The MGA was about as reliable as a two dollar trumpet, but it was cool, and that was more important than whether or not it actually ran.
I was driving home from the hospital about 2 weeks ago, and there in a used lot off on the left was a prime condition green MGB. Beautiful car. If I had stopped the wife would have killed me....I would not have walked away. LOL.
He'll be lucky if he's not indicted for receiving stolen property. And, no way he's ever going to be able to keep it, much less profit from it.
Beautiful car, but most likely if you had bought it, it would have spent a lot of time up on blocks. I don't think I was ever able to drive my MGA more than a hundred miles before something broke on it. Water pump, generator, shocks, plugs, hoses, coil, valves... Every week something. And it takes a genius to tune the carburetors. I tried once and regretted it. But I learned a lot about car repair.
Eventually I gave up and bought a 63 Bug. It had the beefed up 1300 CC engine!!! I was out of high school by then and it was more important to actually arrive at a destination than to look cool getting there.
My oldest son has mechanical blood. Perhaps I could get him to ignore family and job to keep my MGB running. I already keep him busy with my tractor.
Parts, though, would be impossible to find.
I borrowed a friend’s VW Bug in the dreaded winter of 77/78 to drive back and forth to the Univ of Cincinnati. If I remember it snowed, iced, snowed, iced, stayed below zero for about a month. The roads simply couldn’t get cleaned.
Heater didn’t work, windshield wipers were a joke, but it WENT along those icy roads like a trooper.
Was there another penny made form a whiteish or gray metal? I could swear I had one once.
An unfortunate boating accident...
They weren’t the ones stolen from the mint, anyone with a modicum of numismatic and historical knowledge could noodle that out. The media just ran with that for the progressive envy/titillation value...
I had a friend who had 3 Morris Minors. 1 to drive and 2 to pilfer parts from. Eventually he ran out of parts to pilfer. I think he ended up teaching automotive repair at a high school.
The British have always built their cars to ensure that there will be plenty of jobs for auto repair mechanics.
As the mint frequently used to let employees obtain early releases you have no standing to make the assumption it was stolen. In case you haven’t noticed, the burden of proof here is supposed to be on the prosecution...
They don’t auction them, they stuff them in a hole someplace. Look to the ‘33 double eagles for that fate...
They ran out of copper during WWII and issued steel pennies in 1943.
There were some copper 1943 pennies that are now worth a lot of money.
Why? I would challenge the feds to go ahead and see if it is anyplace I can access and thereby prove that it is NOT lost. Then, in ten years it might be accidentally *cough* found *cough* and more reasonably dispensed with without fed intervention that time around. Probably to someone with a residence not in this country that could afford the purchase price and where the feds could yap all they might but would not be able to get it back.
This is not a criminal case. The government needs to show that the coins were never released and then the burden would shift to the person possessing the item to prove it was a gift and that the person who gave the gift had the authority to do so.
I believe Mr. Lawrence is not going to be able to meet that burden because he stated he does not know how his father came into possession of it.
Once the government establishes that those pennies were ordered destroyed, the burden will shift to Mr. Lawrence to show that the penny he has in his possession was not one of those ordered destroyed. He has already admitted he can't prove that.
The cat is out of the bag. If the coin were to disappear at this point, the government would probably sue Mr. Lawrence for the appraised value under a theory of conversion. It was in his possession and now it isn’t. The fact that he can’t find it, does not mean he did not owe a duty to preserve it until the ownership issue is resolved.
Well, the guy should shift the venue to criminal, because they have probably said or alleged that it was stolen.
If it was a 44 steel, or a 43 copper, neither of those were “authorized” but you don’t see them trying to get the few loose ones of those. Same deal here, how can the government prove it wasn’t a loose planchet? Hell, there’s a guy on the web with one of the actual old presses from Denver and when he overhauled it, it was filled with planchets and misstrikes.
IIRC, there were some 43 coppers that were released. Likewise with the 44 steels. Also the government did not order a recall of those but just stopped the presses so to speak.
Regardless, the government wants this coin and they are going to end up with it. That’s the bottom line.
1,571,167 were produced....most destroyed at the mint. The Wiki article on this subject is pretty good: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1974_aluminum_cent