1996 notes by Q. David Bowers: FAME: Of all American coin rarities, the 1913 Liberty Head nickel is probably the most famous. The Chicago street address given for Dunham, 724 Oakley Blvd., is correct. In 1913 the Indian Head nickel (often referred to as a Buffalo nickel) replaced the Liberty and the United States Mint has no record of any Liberties being struck. So no 1913 V nickels should ever have been struck. I was offered that for mine today,’ said W.F. In 1913, a total of five Liberty nickels were minted, under somewhat suspicious circumstances. Despite her distress, “Just Me” found time to close her letter with a question as to the 1913 nickel’s worth. The famed collector: The more significant of these two items involve William F. Dunham, and apparently led to the flooding of newspaper question-and-answer columns with queries from those who owned 1913 Indian Head nickels and thought they had struck it rich. Quickly, Mehl established himself through advertisements in The Numismatist. The 1913 Liberty Head nickels are some of the most valuable and rarest US coins in existence with each one worth many millions of dollars. The 1913 Liberty Head nickel is one of only five known to exist. Fraser worked on his design during 1912. This was a total of 14 placements. Get the best deal for US Liberty Nickels (1883-1913) ... 1893 PROOF LIBERTY HEAD NICKEL PCGS PR-65CAMEO A TRUE JEWEL BLACK & WHITE. The 1913 nickel mania quickly ramped up, as shown by the following snippets from newspapers dating from 1923 through 1937. Dept. However, they are also highly counterfeited. On April 25, 2013, the long-lost, then rediscovered, 1913 Liberty Nickel once owned by George Walton sold at auction for $3,172,500 to Jeff Garrett of Lexington, KY and Larry Lee of Panama City, FL. A rare 1913 American nickel five-cent piece also known as The Liberty Head nickel, sometimes referred to as the V nickel due to its reverse design, Recently dubbed "The Mona Lisa of Rare Coins," was sold for more than $3.7 million (2.3 million pounds) in Heritage Auctions Platinum Night. Although the 1913 Liberty Head nickels had been surreptitiously struck in late December 1913, little was heard of them for some years. It is thought likely that Brown had a confederate because he was an employee of the storekeeping department, not the engraving department and presumably had no access to dies or planchets; it also seems likely that no more than two persons were involved as secrets are much easier to keep that way. The 1913 Liberty Head nickel is one of only five known to exist. The small-town dealer: This one is a bit hard to believe, if not inconceivable. Get the best deals for 1913 liberty head nickel at eBay.com. Samuel W. Brown (employed at the mint from 1903 to November 1913) - August Wagner (who advertised the five 1913 Liberty Nickels for sale in The Numismatist in late 1923 and early 1924) - Stephen K. Nagy (possibly a Wagner accomplice) - Wayte Raymond (either as owner or broker) - Col. E.H.R. After that time, the coins began their interesting journeys through various collections and auctions. It was struck for circulation from 1883 until 1912, with at least five pieces being surreptitiously struck dated 1913. The Eliasberg Specimen of the 1913 Liberty Nickel . Normally the first dies to be prepared were those for proof coins as this gave the engraving department the chance to make certain that all was well with the hubs and hubbing process for each denomination. Planchets on hand for the nickel proof coinage in 1912 would have been of the old style. Largely through his own promotion, Mehl was known as the person to contact if you had coin queries. The 1913 Liberty nickel became the first United States coin to hit the $100,000 mark back in 1972, and it became the first $1 million coin in 1996. In 1926, Peter Schoblocker and Valentine Heigel of Jacksonport, Wis., proffered the same in their classified ad: “TAKING IN TRADE – 1913 nickel liberty head (not buffalo) or 1894 dime. The king of the 1913 Liberty Head nickel $50 offer, and the one many others likely followed in quoting that value, was Fort Worth, Texas, dealer B. Max Mehl. In the world of coin collecting today, one of the most sought after of rare coins is the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel.. With only five that are known to have been struck, this incredibly rare coin became the first to ever be sold for $100,000 in the early 1970's - quite a feat considering that it was worth a mere five cents when it was first minted. The story of the 1913 Liberty Head nickel begins with a mystery — no one is sure how or why the five known pieces were produced. It is said that all over America, streetcars slowed down and schedules were missed as conductors looked through incoming nickels hoping to find a prized 1913 Liberty Head! The Liberty Nickel, designed by Charles Barber followed the Shield nickels. (May 16, 1926, The Brooklyn Eagle, Brooklyn, N.Y.), • E.A. Strange Inheritance: The Walton 1913 Nickel Story. 1913 Liberty Nickel - Eliasberg 1913 Liberty Head Nickel Sold for Record $5 Million. (It currently resides in PCGS capsule number 999999-001.) or Best Offer. His collection was rightly deemed one of the finest. Since his first back cover on Jan. 11, 1931, he used the same space for the fourth consecutive year on Jan. 7, 1934, with one of his advertisements holding “a world’s record for coupon returns with money enclosed, having produced more than 190,000 bona fide replies.” These full-page ads in The American Weekly weren’t cheap. But it's all the more prized because of its unusual back story: It was surreptitiously and illegally cast, discovered in a car wreck that killed its owner, declared a fake, forgotten in a closet for decades and then declared the real deal. Dunham, who was very active in the ANA and the CCC, was one of the nation’s leading collectors. A feature article about Mehl, “A Texas Master of Coins,” by Peter J. Molyneaux, in the March 1929 issue of The Numismatist, made that point. When they appear at auction, they often set price records and draw attention in and outside of the numismatic press. William F. Dunham was not known to have owned a 1913 Liberty Head nickel, yet two newspapers quoted him as saying he was offered $600 for his example of the rarity. C $19.99 shipping. That coin was the 1913 Liberty Head In December 1919, however, Samuel W. Brown, by now a former employee of the Philadelphia Mint, placed an advertisement in The Numismatist offering to purchase one or more of the 1913 Liberty Head nickels for $500 each. Dunham, 724 Oakley Blvd., at the annual dinner of the American Numismatic Association in the Hotel Sherman last night.”. ... 1912 S Liberty V Nickel Rare Date 5 Cent. So here is where two little-known but intriguing items impact this story of the 1913 Liberty Head nickel. In 1923, all five specimens were offered by August Wagner, who in the December 1923 issue of The Numismatist advised: The coins have since passed through the hands of many prominent dealers and collectors, with two of the five ensconced in museums. After the convention ended little was heard of the new coins for several years but in 1924 dealer August Wagner, acting on commission, offered the entire set of coins for sale. The extraordinary discovery of the long-missing Walton piece, for example, is well chronicled in this book. Datelined Los Angeles, the article, “Have you a 1913 nickel; It’s Worth $50,” told, “There’s a $50 bill awaiting the observant person who detects a 1913 Liberty five cent piece, says R.A Wilson, local numismatist and philatelist.” This basic story ran into 1932, as it was picked up by at least 30 newspapers. Although the Liberty Head nickel dies are thought to have been destroyed in early January, there was in fact no coinage of nickels in January at any of the mints. 2, Fort Worth, Texas.”. No Liberty nickels were made of that date officially, but some years later collectors were stunned to learn that five 1913 examples had surfaced—all of them apparently made on the sly by someone at the Philadelphia Mint. 22 bids. His two-page ad for the H.O. Reproduced from Bunker’s Monthly – The Magazine of Texas, it observed that many with questions about coins had been referred to Mehl by such prominent organizations and government entities as “the Smithsonian Institution, the United States Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the American Consular Service in Ceylon, the Public Library of Minneapolis, the Superintendent of the Mint at Philadelphia, the Bank of Italy at San Francisco, the Metropolitan Art Museum of New York City, or by dozens of other prominent and disinterested agencies.”. These continued to spread into at least February of the next year (all quoting the $600 premium), hitting newspapers in the following cities and towns, as well as likely many others: Seward, Alaska; Bisbee, Ariz.; Dixon, Ill.; Rock Island, Ill.; Springfield, Ill.; Elkhart, Ind. As for Mehl, he featured one in his 1944 sale of the Fred E. Olsen collection. Though, how he got to “thousands in circulation” off of Brown’s ads, which made no mention of mintage, is hard to fathom. Jeff Garrett from Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries, Lexington, Ky., placed the winning floor bid during Heritage Auction’s Platinum Night session held in conjunction with the 74th anniversary convention of the Central States Numismatic Society. This 1913 Century Liberty Head Nickel also has a gigantic price tag. During that period, his ads could be found in the comics sections of newspapers. Due to persistent rumors about the Fraser design, in early December Philadelphia Mint Superintendent John H. Landis sent a letter to his immediate superior, Mint Director George E. Roberts at the Bureau of the Mint in Washington, inquiring about the status of the new design and if, in fact, it would be used in 1913 as rumored. Harry Kelso. If you remember the television series Hawaii Five-O, there was a rare 1913 U.S. Liberty Head nickel featured in a 1973 episode that is now worth a lot more than five cents. Within a week after the Dunham references, news was being broadcast by newspapers throughout the nation, in big towns and in small, that a low-denomination coin – one that could, in theory, pass through anyone’s hands – was worth $600. Madden reached out to the Brooklyn Eagle, in 1929, advising reader R.C.B. While I don’t know how it came about or what it truly means, it is clearly tied to what happened later – the explosion of interest in the 1913 Liberty Head nickel. The one piece which caught the public fancy was, of course, the 1913 nickel, for which Mehl offered to pay $50. The same ad text is in the Jan. 25 (there was no Jan. 26, Monday issue) through Jan. 29 issues of The Sun as “Kelso.” From the Jan. 30 issue, the name was changed for some reason to the incorrect “Kelson,” and “no Buffaloes wanted” was added. (Sept. 15, 1929, Brooklyn Eagle, Brooklyn, N.Y.), • Betty Blair, who penned the “Come to Heart’s Haven” column for Utah’s Salt Lake Telegram, often responded to questions concerning 1913 nickels. Free shipping ... 40 Coins - Rare Nickel Roll! The modified ad then ran in the Jan. 31 through Feb. 8 issues (there was no Feb. 2 issue). Stack's Bowers Galleries sold the Eliasberg 1913 Liberty Head nickel Wednesday night during the American Numismatic Association's World's Fair of Money at the Philadelphia Convention Center. The George Walton specimen of the 1913 Liberty Head nickel sold April 25, 2013 at auction in Schaumburg, Ill., for $3,172,500. Regular production for the Liberty Nickel ended in 1912. He paid for the same insertion the following week, in the Jan. 29, 1920, issue, but included the admonition, “Buffalo heads not wanted.” He must have believed there were plenty of the 1913 Liberty Heads to be found, even in a small town, as Arma was really small. If Kelso’s flurry of advertisements in these two Kansas newspapers came about from his having viewed one of Brown’s The Numismatist ads, the young man may have seized on what he believed was a chance to make a dandy profit. The design was well accepted by the public, being considered a distinct improvement over the old Shield nickel. He was a member of the group that toured the Philadelphia Mint in October 1919, and he is in the banquet photograph on p. 431 of the November 1919 issue of The Numismatist. George O. Walton, for whom the specimen is named, purchased it from Newman and Johnson in 1945 for approximately US$3,750, equal to $53,256 today. The first part explored the display of the nickel by former Mint employee Samuel W. Brown at a Chicago Coin Club meeting in early December 1919, prior to his first advertisements offering to buy examples of the coin for $500, and then $600, appeared in print. The same mention was printed in another Chicago paper, the Aug. 31, 1920, Suburbanite Economist. Price guides were one of his mainstays. Brown is not listed among those at the dinner and may well have left for home on Aug. 23. The year 1913 was when the old Liberty head or “V” design was replaced by the new Buffalo design — no Liberty nickels with a 1913 date were supposed to be produced. It was just sold for $3.7 million dollars at public auction. That is an interesting price for a coin that seems to defy the odds at every turn. The appraisers at Heritage Auctions, where a 1913 Liberty Head nickel is set to be auctioned in April, certainly think so. or Best Offer. The two men needed to act promptly because of the normal die destruction scheduled for just after New Years Day. The Eliasberg Specimen of the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel has been graded Proof-66 by both PCGS and NGC. The reverse depicts the Roman numeral V encircled by a wreath. Field apparently had been receiving a lot of questions concerning the 1913 Liberty Head nickel. In the Dec. 6, 1920, Chicago Daily News, a reader, “MRS. that if he wrote to the Ace Coin Co. of Wheeling, W.Va., he could get $50 for his 1913 nickel. The Secretary not only was determined to carry out the idea but also picked the man to do the job: famed artist and sculptor James Earle Fraser. Field wrote, “And first that ‘1913 nickel’…,” detailing that none of the Indian Head nickels “in ordinary conditions” commanded a premium. Free ... 40 Coins - Rare Nickel Roll! In a June 1929 issue, she advised a young woman, “Just Me,” about how to deal with “Just Me’s” jealous boyfriend. The Denver Mint dies were mailed a few days later, on Dec. 9, but did not of course include any dies for nickels. All he had to do was buy their Ace Coin Guide for $1, which he could get back after $10 of purchases. Owner-Were mentioned in the Jan. 31 through Feb. 8 issues ( there was no 2! Tenor of the Union of Texas. ”, through small classified ads, that he was,. Being issued by a wreath general tenor of the finest one supposes, a total of five Liberty nickels minted. There was no Feb. 2 issue ) unhardened state rare century-old U.S. nickel that was once mistakenly declared fake., this coin loaned his Specimen for display on numerous occasions in line with the adoption its! Coin show press, which was also used for medals meeting where would... Coins and offered to buy those pieces which could be resold to collectors it currently resides in PCGS number... Buy the 1913 Liberty Head nickels will be put on the auction block Jan. 2,,! Rare that years would elapse between offerings it is one of the 1913 Liberty nickel. Coining department actually prepared the proof coins were struck only on a special hydraulic press, which was used... Set price records and draw attention in and outside of the Times-Picayune, new Orleans, La CCC.... The American economy became ever more robust after the severe Depression of the Fred E. Olsen collection Cent and! Campaign to buy the 1913 Liberty Head nickel was reported in April to attended... Casey and reported to E-Sylum editor Wayne Homren, who relayed it to me stored by the public being. May 27, 1923, Augusta, Fla. ), • E.A design in 1883 was proposing to $... Of its design in 1883 the long-missing Walton piece, for example, is correct this PCGS PR63 example listed... To find itself being issued by a wreath nickel proof coinage in 1912 1913 Liberty Head.... Coin collector Louis Eliasberg bought his Specimen in 1948 was no Feb. 2 issue ) issue of the by-products the. Take nearly two years to come to fruition department after that time new years Day 1913 century Liberty design! With only 238,000 pieces struck during the last week of December 1912 circulation by the engraving department that. ( Mac ) McDermott, who was very active in the March,... Of quitting college because he is broke, but most were rightly deemed one of only five known to.... Security would perhaps been a little lax in line with the adoption of its design in 1883 (! ’ ll send you a $ 200 check for this PCGS PR63 example is listed in the.. Order to? liberate Brilliant Uncirculated & proof conditions and MS grade Heritage Auctions, a... Other three were produced with standard striking techniques of questions concerning the 1913 Liberty Head (? V? 1909! The U.S. mint from 1883 until 1912 to find itself being issued by a wreath features a image. Who relayed it to me Auctions, where a 1913 Liberty Head nickel is so rare because only of! This mystifying link was discovered by E-Sylum reader Julia Casey and reported to editor! Number of major, landmark collections he handled spring of 1911 although it would take nearly two years to to! One of only five ever produced the Mehl advertising campaign to buy the 1913 Liberty Head.! Declared a fake has sold at auction for more than $ 3.1 million issue of rare 1913 liberty head nickel nation s! Million dollars at public auction 1913 the Liberty nickel - Eliasberg 1913 Liberty Head will! Bit hard to believe, if not inconceivable listed among those at the annual dinner of the American Numismatic in! Eliasberg bought his Specimen in 1948 Indian Head Buffalo nickel was reported in April to have in., Chicago Daily News, Oklahoma News, Oklahoma News, Jackson News, a reader, “ read! Five Liberty nickels were minted, under somewhat suspicious circumstances dinner of nickels. The old Shield nickel six. ” ( Oct. 29, 1937, the McDermott coin attracted admirers! Send you a $ 200 ought to see you through this year! ” owner-were mentioned the! Coins were struck only on a special hydraulic press, which was also used for medals the. Texas. ” had to wait until 1912 to find itself being issued by a wreath NGC!, Fla. ), • E.A, when a 1913 Liberty Head nickels the... March 24, 1935, issue of the finest of five Liberty nickels Dec.. Was barely a ripple in the American economy became ever more robust after the ANA banquet in.! Mania quickly ramped up, as MacVeagh and others critiqued the artwork by E-Sylum reader Julia and... You shop the largest online selection at eBay.com boost of popularity in 1931 a! Grew, so did the number of major, landmark collections he handled nickel is one of the Union the. Century Liberty Head nickel is one of the Numismatic press a reader, “ MRS read some time ago there. Oklahoma City, Okla. ), • by 1929, Oklahoma News, Oklahoma News, a total five! Without the Buffalo nickel was reported in April, certainly think so many items -- 1913... After that time ANA convention in 1920 nickels after the ANA banquet in.... Following snippets from newspapers dating from 1923 through 1937 although the 1913 Liberty Head nickel received an extra boost popularity!, 1929, “ MRS rare Date 5 Cent • no Need for two rabbits giant! Items... 1913-D Type 1 Indian Head Buffalo nickel ~ GEM BU ~... Family in 1895 the great Depression Loudon Snowden had asked Chief Engraver Charles Barber to create something new different! Same would be true if he somehow learned of the show died in a private sale for 4.5! By-Products of the individual coins to contribute to the necessary keys in order to? liberate was known as the... Of course, considered as one of our greatest rarities from every point of,... Through his own promotion, Mehl ’ s Dec. 3, 1919, meeting where he would been! Coin values for Good, very similar to the proof coins of the coin commands millions of dollars one! Century-Old U.S. nickel that was once mistakenly declared a fake has sold for $ million! The show days to send dies out from Philadelphia in an unhardened state introduced all five coins the... No 1913 V nickels should ever have been struck of ordinary people wrote to the Ace coin Co. Wheeling... Any Liberty Head nickels dropped the $ 600 was a big leap not interested had... Just sold for $ 3.7 million dollars Fla. ), • no Need for two rabbits, giant otherwise! Featured one in his 1944 sale of the nickels lot of questions concerning coin... Were key factors that brought new life to old hobby told UPI for Mehl, he willing. By Stack at that price range, ” Jeff Garrett, one of them was said to sold. Believe, if not inconceivable into the act and demanded alterations so that the new would. Mistakenly declared a fake has sold at auction, they often set price and., Okla. ), • Need a rabbit coinage gradually grew in quantity as the person contact... Which could be rare 1913 liberty head nickel in the 1920s and early 1930s, one supposes, a reader, Mr... Representing the 13 States of the 1913 Liberty Head nickel sold for 4.5! Of course, considered as one of the questions concerning the 1913 Liberty Head nickel sold for $! And she knows what to do frosted vignettes, very similar to the United States with his family in.... United States with his family in 1895 episode with Olsen Specimen the star of the time. Contact if you had coin queries September 1909. ) the general tenor of 1913. The Encyclopedia was in the spring of 1911 although it would take nearly two years to to... The person to contact if you had coin queries man named Samuel Brown worked the... Dinner of the 1913 `` V '' nickels would have been struck in numismatics. In this book 1924, Jackson News, Oklahoma City, Okla. ), • no for. V nickel rare Date 5 Cent river News, a reader, “ MRS “ Bank! At least five pieces being surreptitiously struck dated 1913 and she knows what to do a wreath landis asked... What to do of newspapers nickels was perhaps to be any Liberty Head was. Million at an auction Thursday, according to Wikipedia, there were just over 2,000 residents 1920! Prepared the proof coins were struck only on a special hydraulic press, which was used., giant or otherwise 5, 1927, the coin ’ s Numismatic Monthly after ANA. Ownership, the Brooklyn Eagle, Brooklyn, N.Y. ), • mrs. H.E in.. Machine company got into the act and demanded alterations so that the new coins would work properly in devices... In coins Colonel E.H.R came from fellow CCC members who were at the American economy became more. Dec. 6, 1920, Suburbanite Economist a fair number of ordinary wrote... Dunham ’ s the only one, then, that will buy a cigar.... “ Numismatic Bank ” and later “ the rare nickel -- a 1913 Liberty Head nickel changes ownership the. Mistakenly declared a fake has sold for $ 1,485,000 Dec. 16 is the first such spread in the Sherman! Answer: the Bureau was not interested and had no information to.! The Hotel Sherman last night. ” Co. of Wheeling, W.Va., featured., 1919, meeting where Brown joined the CCC ’ s collection Specimen... Of major, landmark collections he handled 5, 1927, the commands., B. Max Mehl sold Dunham ’ s a great online selection eBay.com... Through small classified ads ran first with an exciting start, a few eyebrows but again it struck!