Rare 1913 Liberty Head Nickel Sold for $3.7 Million in Auction

The following press release comes from Heritage Auctions:

“(Orlando, Florida) — A rare U.S. nickel that was owned over the years by an infamous Egyptian King and a Los Angeles sports team owner, and was the centerpiece in an episode of a popular television series, sold for $3,737,500 in a public auction conducted in Orlando, Florida Thursday, January 7, 2010. The little coin with the big value is a 1913-dated Liberty Head nickel, one of only five known of that specific date and design.

“It is probably the most famous United States rare coin because it was seen by tens of millions of viewers in an episode of ‘Hawaii Five-O’,” said Greg Rohan, President of Dallas-based Heritage Auctions (www.HA.com), the firm conducting the auction online and at the Orlando Convention Center through the weekend at a coin collector’s convention.

“The winning bidder is a very advanced, East Coast coin collector who was filling a hole in his collection with the addition of the 1913 Liberty nickel. The under bidder who also wants to remain anonymous is a sophisticated business executive who has just re-entered coin collecting circles.”

Although the name of the seller also was not disclosed, previous owners of this 1913 Liberty nickel included a roster of the rich and famous.

“In the 1940’s this coin was in the collection of the notorious King Farouk of Egypt who was deposed in 1952. In December 1973 it was prominently featured in an episode of the TV series, ‘Hawaii Five-O,’ entitled ‘The $100,000 Nickel.’ Los Angeles Lakers owner, Dr. Jerry Buss, paid $200,000 for the coin in 1978, and it changed hands several times since then, crossing the million dollar mark in 2003. Now it sold for over $3.7 million in spirited bidding,” said Rohan.

The price includes the 15 percent buyer’s premium and represents the actual total price the winning bidder is paying for the coin.

“The U.S. Mint struck tens of millions of Liberty Head nickels from 1883 through 1912, but switched designs in 1913 to depict a Native American on the “head’s” side and a bison on the “tail’s” side. However, five nickels with the new date, 1913, but the old design of the symbolic Miss Liberty secretly were made at the Philadelphia Mint and eventually sold to collectors.”

One of the five fabled 1913 Liberty nickels is in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC; another belongs to the American Numismatic Association (ANA) Money Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the three others, including the coin in the January auction, are privately owned by collections.

For additional information, contact Heritage Auctions at (800) 872-6467 or visit online at www.HA.com.”