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All Posts Tagged With: "Smithsonian"

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…)

Stunning Smithsonian Coins Exhibit in PCGS Video

The acclaimed, new traveling exhibition of the Smithsonian’s National Numismatic Collection, “Good as Gold – America’s Double Eagles,” now can be seen on a free, new video available online courtesy of Professional Coin Grading Service.

pcgs_jim_hughes_101909The 7 minute program is on PCGS’ home page at www.PCGS.com. By clicking the full screen option, viewers get can get an up close ‘n’ personal with some of America’s greatest numismatic gold rarities that were exhibited for the first time together outside of Washington, D.C. at the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money convention in Los Angeles, August 5 – 9, 2009.

“This stunning exhibition will be displayed at the next three ANA spring and summer conventions. We created this video in cooperation with the Smithsonian and made it available on our web site so that everyone can enjoy seeing and learning about these amazing coins whenever it is convenient to do so,” said Don Willis, PCGS President.

Jim Hughes, Associate Curator of the National Numismatic Collection, gives viewers a “private tour” describing and showing on camera many of the 20 historic coins in the exhibit.
One part of the Smithsonian exhibit.

Highlights include an 1849 pattern Liberty Double Eagle, the first $20 denomination coin struck by the United States Mint during the early days of the California Gold Rush, and two of the Smithsonian’s three 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles, representing the last year of production.

Hughes describes the 1849 pattern as “probably the highlight of highlights of the Smithsonian collection.”

The videos also shows examples from the exhibit of branch mint gold pieces as well as territorial and private gold coins, such as Clark, Gruber & Co. of Denver, Baldwin & Co. of San Francisco, and Mormon gold pieces struck in Salt Lake City. (more…)