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All Posts Tagged With: "Liberty Head Nickel"

The Olsen 1913 Liberty Head Nickel to be Auctioned by Heritage on Platinum Night at FUN in January

Coin World has reported that The Olsen specimen 1913 Liberty Head nickel, the most famous of five known specimens, will be auctioned by Heritage on Platinum Night at the 2010 FUN Sale in Orlando in January.

olsen_1913_liberty_nickelThe coin is graded Proof-64 by NGC.  It has the distinction of being the only 1913 Liberty Head nickel ever handled by B. Max Mehl, who made it a centerpiece of his lifelong advertising campaign. It was also briefly owned by Egyptian King Farouk. When the set of five 1913 nickels was broken up in the 1940s, the Olsen specimen was sold first to James Kelly and then to Fred Olsen, whose name it has kept ever since.

The Olsen specimen was featured on “The $100,000 Nickel” episode of Hawaii Five-O soon after it broke the record for the most expensive coin ever sold in 1972. During the episode, the “star” coin is stolen by a thief and spends much of the episode passing from hand to hand as the human stars of the program look for it. The coin’s price doubled to $200,000 when it was purchased by Superior Galleries in 1978. It has been resold on several occasions since then, most recently fetching $3 million in June of 2004.

The 1913 Liberty Head  Nickel is one of the most famous US coins. With only 5 made,  it is truly a remarkable coin. Liberty Head nickels dated 1913 first came to the attention of the numismatic community in 1920. All five were in the possession of Samuel Brown, a numismatist who attended the American Numismatic Association’s annual convention and displayed the coins there. Brown had previously placed an advertisement in The Numismatist in December 1919 seeking information on these coins and offering to pay $500 for each. Ostensibly, the coins had been purchased as a result of this offer. However, Samuel Brown had been a Mint employee in 1913, and many numismatic historians have concluded that he was responsible for striking the coins himself and then removing them from the Mint. Official records from the Mint do not record any Liberty Head nickels produced in 1913, However, that in and of itself is not conclusive sice record keeping at the US Mint was somewhat lax and there are many examples of coins that exist today that lack official records of their coinage. (more…)