History of how a coin whose existence was denied by the United States Mint but was reportedly melted down at the steel plant in Conshohocken

We came across this story by accident. An article in Coin World tells the 50-year-old story about how a coin whose existence was denied by United States Mint officials ended up reportedly getting melted down at the Alan Wood Steel Co. plant in Conshohocken. However, an accident during the melting process resulted in a bag of the coins getting scattered across the floor of the steel plant and a few were scooped up by the steelworkers (and have proven the coin’s existence).

From the article:

The caller, a retired steel worker, told me a fantastic story of how United States Mint officials, with a contingent of Mint police on hand, arrived at the Alan Wood Steel Co. in Pennsylvania 20 years earlier, in 1974. According to the caller, at least 40 bags of the experimental pieces — 200,000 pieces or more — were destroyed in one of the mill’s furnaces.

But not all of the pieces were destroyed, according to the source.

At least nine and as many as a dozen 1974 Lincoln cent experimental pieces struck on the bronze-clad steel planchets reportedly survived the furnace.

According to the source, the bags of experimental cents were shoved down a chute from the third floor to a basic oxygen furnace on the second floor. The source said the cents were under heavy guard by five Mint guards.

As the bags were being placed onto a lift to be transported to the chute, one bag fell to the floor and burst open, scattering the experimental pieces across the floor. The Mint guards made the employees move away from the spilled cents as they swept them up for melting. 

According to the source, as the cents from the burst bag poured down the chute, a gust of wind blowing through the plant picked up 10 to 12 pieces and blew them onto the floor of the furnace, which had not yet gone into operation. Despite the presence of the Mint guards, some employees managed to snatch up some of the coins, apparently without the guards noticing. The five pieces possessed by the source came from those dozen or so survivors. Another three pieces may exist in burnt condition in the possession of other mill employees.

You can read the full article here. You can find a follow-up article in Coin World on the coin here.