One of only five known 1913 Liberty Head five-cent coins has been sold for $4.2 million to Ian Russell, the owner/president of Great Collections, the official auction house of the American Numismatic Association. The road to the sale was long and winding. The legendary, century-old rare United States nickel was “lost” for 41 years and rediscovered in 2003. The coin had been owned by a North Carolina collector named George O. Walton, who was killed in a 1962 car crash. The family was told that the Liberty Head nickel he owned was fake, so they threw it into a closet for more than four decades. In 2003, the collector’s family submitted it again for authentication, when it was declared to be the real coin from the Philadelphia Mint in 1913. It was sold for $3.1 million in 2013, and again in 2018 for an undisclosed price to the Firman family in Florida, who in turn displayed it at the American Numismatic Association Money Museum in Colorado before recently selling it.
Two of the five known 1913 Liberty Head nickels are in museums — one in the Smithsonian’s National Numismatic Collection and another at the ANA Money Museum in Colorado,” explained Russell. The remaining three are in private hands.