Don Coley writes:
Seeing the news on the Olsen 1913 Nickel takes me back to the Smithsonian as a youngster, 1976 when the Eliasberg Collection was on display. (I still have a photo that I bought from the gift shop, of the Norweb specimen). And to the Baltimore Convention in July 2003 when the Walton specimen was authenticated. That was an amazing course of events. Dwight Manley sells Eliasberg specimen to Ed Lee the night before the authentication. It was really interesting to be at that show!
Don provided the above photo of the exhibit. I was at that convention, and stopped by the exhibit. It was a great draw for the show. Very nicely done, but who funded it? Building custom exhibit cases isn't cheap.
Some clues might be found in this account of a 2003 gala for the exhibit.
The Ninety Years of Liberty Gala: A Night in Pictures
Below is some text from the post-sale press release.
The "Olsen" 1913 liberty nickel sold for $3.7 million "in spirited bidding" to a private East Coast coin collector in Orlando late on Thursday.
Recently dubbed "The Mona Lisa of Rare Coins," The "Olsen" specimen is the second finest of just five known examples and is currently graded PR64 NGC. It was the first 1913 Liberty Head nickel offered for sale in a public auction, and the only specimen that professional numismatist B. Max Mehl ever handled, despite his extensive advertising campaign that promoted the famously rare coin. It also holds the record as the first coin to break the $100,000 price barrier in 1972, while another 1913 nickel, the Eliasberg specimen, became the first coin to break the $1,000,000 price barrier some 24 years later. It is certainly possible that a 1913 Liberty nickel, perhaps the Olsen specimen, will someday become the first coin to break the $10,000,000 price barrier.
Huh? Dubbed the "Mona Lisa"? By who? That's one of the dumber analogies I've heard. Let's see, the Mona Lisa is the creation of Leonardo Da Vinci, and the 1913 nickels are the creation of some midnight Mint employee who cobbled together material created by other people. Nice coin. Rare coin. Interesting coin. But not a "Mona Lisa" coin.
To read the complete press release, see:
"Olsen" 1913 liberty nickel sold for $3.7 million
Wayne Homren, Editor
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