Secrets of Famous 1913 Liberty Nickels Revealed in New Book A new book explains how a rare coin, one of only five known 1913 Liberty Head nickels and valued today at more than $2 million, was unsuspectingly kept in a closet for 41 years until recently.
News-Antique.com - Nov 30,-0001 - (Irvine, California) -- A new book explains how a rare U.S. nickel valued today at more than $2 million was unsuspectingly kept in a closet for 41 years and finally emerged from its hiding place following a recent, headline-making worldwide search.
The intriguing story of how that nickel and four companion pieces were secretly made over 90 years ago at the United States Mint in Philadelphia is the subject Million Dollar Nickels: Mysteries of the Illicit 1913 Liberty Nickels Revealed, written by Paul Montgomery, Paul Borckardt and Ray Knight. The book is published by Zyrus Press, Inc. of Irvine, California (www.zyruspress.com).
One of the five famous 1913 Liberty Head nickels is in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC; another was donated years ago to the American Numismatic Association (ANA) Money Museum in Colorado Springs; two others are in private collections. The whereabouts of the missing fifth specimen was one of the greatest numismatic mysteries of the 20th century.
It was owned by coin dealer George O. Walton of Virginia who was killed in a North Carolina car crash on March 9, 1962. His heirs subsequently were mistakenly told the coin Walton obtained in 1948 --and recovered from the crash site -- was a fake. It then was kept in a plan manila envelope along with family papers on the floor a closet in his sister's Virginia home for four decades.
The new book reveals previously unreported information about the incorrect declaration the coin was counterfeit, the search for the missing, valuable nickel, and insight into the twisted trail of when and why five Liberty Head design nickels dated 1913 were illegally produced.
The 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. Five nickels with the new date, 1913, and the old design of the symbolic Miss Liberty secretly were made and eventually sold to collectors.
In May 2003, an Associated Press story reported that prominent rare coin auction firm, Bowers and Merena, was offering a reward of at least $1 million for the missing fifth specimen. The auction firm's President, book co-author Montgomery, also offered to pay $10,000 just to be the first to see it in person.
In the weeks that followed, Montgomery and his staff received nearly 10,000 phone calls, letters, e-mails and faxes from people claiming to either have the coin or a similar one (with little or no value to collectors.)
The new book reveals for the first time how an astonishing clockwork of 16 different events led from the coin’s disappearance from the hobby’s radar in 1962 to its thunderous public reappearance in July 2003. Walton’s heirs brought it to Baltimore for the big ANA World’s Fair of Money® convention where it was authenticated in a midnight meeting by a team of experts from Professional Coin Grading Service, the world’s largest rare coin authentication company.