LA JOLLA, Ca. (CNN) - A California man is mounting a legal battle against the federal government -- to keep a penny.
It's no ordinary penny - it's a rare aluminum one that has been in Randy Lawrence's family for 40 years.
Lawrence's father worked at the Denver Mint as a supervisor for 20 years.
"He had amassed a number of coins through that time that he had been given," Lawrence said.
Among them, a 1974 aluminum penny. Thousands were made, but then Congress said don't use them. So most were recalled and melted, except the one Lawrence has, and a few others.
The owner of a coin shop in La Jolla, California discovered how rare the penny was.
Then, Lawrence got a letter from the government which said they wanted the coin back.
"You go from that high to this sudden extreme low and even if you didn't know this could happen you don't realize it until it does and then it's disappointing," Lawrence said.
Not about to take this lying down, Lawrence and the shop owner contacted a lawyer.
"Joe Biden got two of them," the lawyer said. "As far as I know, he hasn't given them back."
There's another aluminum penny in private hands.
Lawrence wants to auction the coin, saying it will serve a higher purpose than have it sit on a shelf in a museum.
"It will do so much more good if we are allowed to auction this coin and give a chunk of money to charity," he said.
That's still the goal, which is on hold for now.