U.S. & World Coin News and Articles

Collectors Universe Rare Coin Experts Identify and Authenticate Missing 1913 Liberty Head Nickel

Close up of the 1913 Liberty Head nickel owned by George Walton of North Carolina, and moments after it was authenticated as genuine during the American Numismatic Association's World's Fair of Money(R) convention in Baltimore. (Photo by Donn Pearlman)
 
Close up of the 1913 Liberty Head nickel owned by George Walton of North Carolina, and moments after it was authenticated as genuine during the American Numismatic Association's World's Fair of Money(R) convention in Baltimore. (Photo by Donn Pearlman)

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., July 31, 2003 — Collectors Universe, Inc. (NasdaqNM: CLCT), the leading provider of value-added grading and authentication services and auction services to dealers and collectors of high-end collectibles, today announced that experts from the Company's rare coin authentication, grading and auction divisions have examined and authenticated the fifth known 1913 Liberty Head Nickel. David Hall, president of Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and Paul Montgomery, president of rare coin auction division Bowers and Merena Galleries were among the numismatic experts responsible for the discovery and certification of the 1913 nickel specimen early in the morning of July 30. The famous coin was last seen by collectors four decades ago.

Montgomery and the Bowers and Merena team had offered a $1 million reward for the discovery and purchase of the famous coin, and had offered an additional $10,000 to be the first to view it. The famous rare coin was brought to the American Numismatic Association (ANA) Convention of coin collectors, which opened yesterday in Baltimore, Maryland. Relatives of the late North Carolina coin dealer George Walton decided to bring the coin for inspection after learning of the Bowers and Merena reward offers. They had been uncertain of the coin's authenticity since Walton's death in 1962 and had stored it in a hall closet since that time. Six experts from PCGS and Bowers and Merena, present at the ANA Convention, examined the specimen, and comparing it to the remaining four documented Liberty Head Nickels, declared the coin to be genuine.

"The 40-year mystery is finally solved," said David Hall, president of Collectors Universe and PCGS. "The discovery of this famous coin is a historic event and we are thrilled to be a part of both the determination of authenticity and the celebration that is following. Participation by both PCGS and Bowers and Merena in this rare coin discovery underscores the leadership, expertise and prominence that the Collectors Universe brands bring to the world of collecting and authentication."

"This is a wonderful way to celebrate the 90th anniversary of this historic coin," added Paul Montgomery of Bowers and Merena. "We feel privileged to be a part of this story and to have examined first-hand the unprecedented value of the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel."

An interview with rare coin expert Paul Montgomery is scheduled for NBC's 'Today' Show between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. today, July 31, 2003. Bowers and Merena President Paul Montgomery is also a member of the Board of The Professional Numismatist Guild, widely regarded as the most esteemed coin dealer organization in the industry.

History of the Liberty Head Nickel

Liberty Head Nickels were minted from 1883 to 1912. In 1913, five Liberty nickels were minted illegally by U.S. Mint official Samuel K. Brown, but they were not put into circulation. Not of standard issue, the 1913 Liberty nickels were considered illegal currency, and became a classic among numismatists. Beginning in 1913, the Indian or Buffalo Nickel became the regular nickel issue, replacing the Liberty Head Nickels.

The Eliasberg specimen of the 1913 Liberty nickel, sold at a Bowers and Merena auction in 1996 for $1,485,000, was the first rare coin to ever be sold for more than $1 million. The reward for the fifth missing Liberty Head Nickel was based on the 1996 auction. Today, two of the five Liberty Head Nickels are in private collections and two are in museums. The owners of the recently discovered fifth specimen, have accepted the $10,000 reward for first viewing and are consulting with the Bowers and Merena experts about the possible disposition of the rare coin.

About PCGS

Professional Coin Grading Service of Newport Beach, California began serving the coin-buying public in 1986, and is responsible for dramatic improvements throughout the rare coin industry that have forever changed the way rare coins are bought and sold. In addition to standardized grading, PCGS offers a cash-backed grading guarantee, problem-free coins, safe long-term storage and sight-unseen trading. Together, these elements have created unprecedented public support for the rare coin industry. In 17 years of operation, PCGS has graded more than six million coins with a cumulative declared value of nearly $9 billion.

About Bowers and Merena Galleries

Bowers and Merena Galleries, located in Mandeville, Louisiana, is one of America's most renowned and successful coin auction firms, holding the most records for sales of individual U.S. coins. It offers coins monthly on eBay through the Bowers and Merena Express Internet Auctions and through quarterly catalog auctions that use telephone, in-person and Internet bidding. www.bowersandmerena.com

About Collectors Universe

Collectors Universe, Inc. is the leading provider of products and essential services to the high-end collectibles market. The Collectors Universe brands are among the strongest and best known in their respective markets. The Company grades and authenticates collectible coins, sportscards, stamps, and autographs. The Company engages in collectibles commerce, selling coins, currency, sportscards and sports memorabilia, and entertainment memorabilia through direct sales, auctions, catalogs, and the Internet. The Company also compiles and publishes authoritative information about collectible sports cards and sports memorabilia, United States and world coins, and entertainment memorabilia. This information is accessible to collectors and dealers at the Company's web site, www.collectors.com, and is also published in print.

Using an enlarged photograph of the Eliasberg/Manley/Lee 1913 Liberty Head nickel as a starting reference point, Bowers and Merena Galleries President Paul Montgomery begins his examination of the Walton specimen.  Late that night, Montgomery and a half dozen other numismatists compared the Walton coin side-by-side to the actual specimens of the four other 1913 Liberty Head nickels that had just arrived at the American Numismatic Association's World's Fair of Money(R) convention in Baltimore. (Photo by Donn Pearlman)
Using an enlarged photograph of the Eliasberg/Manley/Lee 1913 Liberty Head nickel as a starting reference point, Bowers and Merena Galleries President Paul Montgomery begins his examination of the Walton specimen. Late that night, Montgomery and a half dozen other numismatists compared the Walton coin side-by-side to the actual specimens of the four other 1913 Liberty Head nickels that had just arrived at the American Numismatic Association's World's Fair of Money(R) convention in Baltimore. (Photo by Donn Pearlman)
The authentication process begins: John Dannreuther and Mark Borckardt, vice president of Bowers and Merena Galleries, take turns examining George Walton's 1913 Liberty Head nickel shortly after the coin arrived in Baltimore at the American Numismatic Association's World's Fair of Money(R) convention. (Photo by Donn Pearlman)
Using an enlarged photograph of the Eliasberg/Manley/Lee 1913 Liberty Head nickel as a starting reference point, Bowers and Merena Galleries President Paul Montgomery begins his examination of the Walton specimen. Late that night, Montgomery and a half dozen other numismatists compared the Walton coin side-by-side to the actual specimens of the four other 1913 Liberty Head nickels that had just arrived at the American Numismatic Association's World's Fair of Money(R) convention in Baltimore. (Photo by Donn Pearlman)
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