Speaking of million-dollar coins, John Wilson forwarded this article about the upcoming Heritage sale of the Walton 1913 Liberty Nickel. Nick Graver also saw this Associated Press piece. Thanks!
A humble 5-cent coin with a storied past is headed to auction and bidding is expected to top $2 million a century after it was mysteriously minted.
The 1913 Liberty Head nickel is one of only five known to exist, but it's the coin's back story that adds to its cachet: It was surreptitiously and illegally cast, discovered in a car wreck that killed its owner, declared a fake, forgotten in a closet for decades and then found to be the real deal. It all adds up to an expected sale of $2.5 million or more when it goes on the auction block April 25 in suburban Chicago.
"Basically a coin with a story and a rarity will trump everything else," said Douglas Mudd, curator of the American Numismatic Association Money Museum in Colorado Springs, Colo., which has held the coin for most of the past 10 years. He expects it could fetch more than Heritage Auction's estimate, perhaps $4 million and even up to $5 million.
"A lot of this is ego," he said of collectors who could bid for it. "I have one of these and nobody else does."
The sellers who will split the money equally are four Virginia siblings who never let the coin slip from their hands, even when it was deemed a fake.
A North Carolina collector, George O. Walton, purchased one of the coins in the mid-1940s for a reported $3,750. The coin was with him when he was killed in a car crash on March 9, 1962, and it was found among hundreds of coins scattered at the crash site.
One of Walton's heirs, his sister Melva Givens of Salem, Va., was given the 1913 Liberty nickel after experts declared the coin a fake because of suspicions the date had been altered. The flaw probably happened because of Brown's imprecise work casting the planchet — the copper and nickel blank disc used to create the coin.
"For whatever reason, she ended up with the coin," her daughter, Cheryl Myers, said.
Melva Givens put the coin in an envelope and stuck it in a closet, where it stayed for the next 30 years until her death in 1992.
Finally, they brought the coin to the 2003 American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money in Baltimore, where the four surviving 1913 Liberty nickels were being exhibited. A team of rare coin experts concluded it was the long-missing fifth coin.
To read the complete article, see:
Sometimes a nickel is worth millions
Arthur Shippee forwarded this item on the nickel from National Public Radio. Thanks!
MONTAGNE: The nickel - with Lady Liberty on one side and the Roman numeral for V on the other, bears the date 1913. The only problem, the liberty head was replaced by the buffalo head in 1912, making this nickel a bootleg - one of five allegedly cast at the Philadelphia Mint by a crooked employee out to make some quick coins.
INSKEEP: If only he'd been able to hold on to it for a century. But this fraud was no fool. He did wait until the statute of limitations expired in 1920 to sell the set and he did get a pretty penny at that time, which is about to happen again.
To read the complete article, see:
Rare Nickel Expected To Sell For A Pretty Penny
Wayne Homren, Editor
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