January 3, 2013
The 1913 Liberty Nickel is one of America's most famous and mysterious coins. There are only 5 known examples and one of them will be auctioned off in its 100th year anniversary by Heritage Coin Galleries at the Central States Numismatic Society in April of 2013. The coin being auctioned is also known as the Walton Specimen. This example was originally acquired by George O. Walton who owned an appraisal business. In 1962, Walton died in a car crash and one of the 1913 Liberty Nickels was recovered from the crash site, along with many other coins. Walton's sister inherited the 1913 Liberty Nickel and shortly after, her family consigned the coin to Stacks Auction Firm. The auction firm returned the 1913 Liberty Nickel to the family as Stacks employees believed the coin to be a fake.
The Walton Family took the coin home and kept the coin in a closet for over 40 years. Then, in the summer of 2003 the ANA arranged to display all four known 1913 Liberty Nickels at the World's Fair of Money in Baltimore. This would be the first time that all four coins would be reunited since the set was broken apart in 1942. At the same show Collectors Universe (PCGS) also offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who brought in the fifth authentic example in an attempt to reunite all 5 coins once again.
The Walton Family heard about the $10,000 reward and decided to get their coin authenticated a second time. After several numismatic experts examined the 1913 Liberty Nickel, they all agreed that the Walton Specimen was indeed an authentic example and the long lost fifth example that had been missing for so many years.
The 1913 Liberty Nickel has always been one of the most famous and intriguing coins in numismatics. Some credit B. Max Mehl for making the 1913 Liberty Nickel so famous. In the 1930's and 1940's Mehl advertised in different newspapers that he would pay a record $50 for any of the 1913 Liberty Nickels. This had many American's at the time searching through their pockets and any change they came across to try and find a 1913 Liberty Nickel. This made the coin very well known throughout the country for many more years.
Then in 1996 the coin became even more famous when Jay Parrino bid a record $1 million for one of the 1913 Liberty Nickel's when it came up at auction. This was the first coin that had ever sold for over $1 million. Anytime the 1913 Liberty Nickel comes into the market it creates a lot of excitement. What a great way to kick off the 2013 year by having one of the rarest and most desirable of all United States coins come up at auction in just a couple of months.