"Olsen" 1913 liberty nickel sold for $3.7 million "Olsen" 1913 liberty nickel sold for $3.7 million at Heritage Auctions Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Auction, at the Orange County Convention Center Thursday.
the mastermind of the deed that someone else put in motion and he was only a cog in the plan. He may only have assisted in the plot. He may not have even been present when the coins were struck but received them at a later time, perhaps much later."
The 1910 Federal Census provides us with names of two others who might have been accomplices, although we are now introducing further speculation. In 1910 Brown was a workman at the U.S. Mint, residing at the boarding house of Carrie Corn, at 1611 South Oxford St. Two other boarders at the same residence, Henry B. Shuman and a Mr. Wenger, were both machinists at the Mint. In 1920 Shuman was listed as a "counter of money" at the Mint, while Wenger is not further identified.
The most likely time of production was the last two weeks of 1912 or the first week of 1913. Before the December 13 order to do nothing about the 1913 nickels came from Mint Director Roberts, Mint employees would have no reason to think that 1913 Liberty Head nickels would be out of the ordinary. Within a week after the first of January, the dies would most likely have been destroyed. The actual dies were probably a pair intended for proof coin production, already given the special polishing necessary for proofs. The striking was rushed, as indicated by the reverse die that was loose in the press. Each of the five coins has a slightly different amount of detail on the reverse, and the difference is attributed to a reverse die that was not firmly seated in the coning press.
For nearly 90 years, everything that has been discussed about the origins of the 1913 Liberty Head nickels is pure speculation, or educated guess at the best. There are only a few facts to aid in a solution to the mystery:
1. Dies for 1913 Liberty nickels were made in the last two months of 1912. We know this as records show 10 sets of 1913 Liberty nickel dies were shipped to San Francisco on November 25, 1912. Philadelphia Mint proof dies would have been made about the same time.
2. Mint Director George Roberts told his staff on December 13, 1912, to do nothing about the five cent coinage until new designs are ready.
3. The first Buffalo nickels were coined on February 21, 1913.
4. Five different 1913 Liberty Head nickels exist, and each shows some degree of reflectivity or mirrored surface.
5. Samuel W. Brown first exhibited the coins in 1920, after advertising to purchase them in December 1919.
6. Brown worked at the Mint from 1903 until 1913, when he resigned in November.
Because the reverse die was not fully seated in the coin press and each coin has slightly diminished reverse detail, it is actually possible to determine with a high degree of accuracy the order that each coin was struck. That is exactly what John Dannreuther did