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Artist’s golden penny found in circulation

Craft & Design
Artist’s golden penny found in circulation


Jack Daws made ten counterfeit pennies from gold for an art show in LA in 2007. He put one of the pennies into circulation at the airport, possibly never to see it again. Well, just last month, Jessica in Brooklyn found the penny, which is worth about a hundred dollars.

“The artwork looks like a real penny, except due to the casting process, it’s slightly smaller, and because of the gold’s weight, it’s almost twice as heavy….Anyone interested in looking for the piece… should look for a penny dated 1970, with no mint mark.”

I looked at the penny I’d found. Date stamp, 1970. No mint mark.

Seriously?! I needed more. Pennies minted in San Francisco do not have mint marks, and pennies minted in 1970 are the opposite of rare.

Next test: I took the penny to the kitchen and pulled out my digital scale. 3 grams.

Sure enough, a 1972 penny weighed in at 2 grams.

I honestly thought there was no way it could be “the” penny. The chance of it being found seemed too great. The chance of my having found it seemed to great. Still, I went to the website of the Seattle gallery that represents Daws, Greg Kucera Gallery, to see if any further information was available, any sure tell that I had indeed found not only the penny, but a really good story as well.

Check out the full story at The Stranger.

12 thoughts on “Artist’s golden penny found in circulation

  1. Jack Dubious says:

    This man is a counterfeiter!!! He should be arrested!

  2. Volkemon says:

    @JackDubious… I agree. No matter that the counterfeit is worth more, it is still a counterfeit of US currency.

    Then again, I thought the ‘quarter shrinking’ was pretty cool, and I am sure it violates some currency law also.

    BUT… this is art, right? As long as one can keep a straight face and stick to the story, it usually trumps law. One can upset airport security, public transit and ignore currency laws as long as you stick to your ‘ideals’.

  3. edsel58 says:

    Quote: “I looked at the penny I’d found. Date stamp, 1970. No mint mark.

    Seriously?! I needed more. Pennies minted in San Francisco do not have mint marks, and pennies minted in 1970 are the opposite of rare”.

    Reply: Pennies minted in San Fransisco DO have “S” mint marks, just as those minted in Denver have a “D” mint mark. Cents minted in Philadelphia DO NOT have a mint mark.

  4. laurence rilling says:

    This is not, technically, counterfeiting.
    The unlawful intent would have to be fraud.
    He spent 100,000 times the face value, which
    negates that allegation. In addition, the law
    refers to ” current coin of the United States ”
    which disqualifies the penny for protection.

    1. edsel58 says:

      Ummm, actually, this IS a current coin still being minted in the U.S., and definitely is in wide cirulation. The date does not matter. The Lincoln cent is still being minted. Maybe fraud was not the intent, but it WAS released to the public for circulation, and is NOT legal tender. It’s a fake, no doubt about it. Just try passing off a fake paper note and if you get caught see what happens.

    2. Anonymous says:

      He spent *10,000* times the face value.

      And it is “technically” counterfeiting. I don’t think “technical” means what you think it means.

      Why would what he spent negate the crime? That doesn’t even make rational sense. There’s the old story floating around about the robber who asks for change for a $20 to get the victim to open the till, when she opens it, he grabs $5 and runs off leaving his $20. Does his net loss mean his robbery crime is negated?

      Since when is the penny not currently legal tender in the US? It would also be a crime to fake a 19th century banknote because it is currently acceptable as legal tender.

      So, where do you get this crap or do you just spew whatever comes into your head?

      fwiw, this “crime” would likely fall into the category of “not in the public interest to prosecute”.

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Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

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