"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.
on the night of July 30, 2003.
As part of the six-person authentication team studying all five 1913 Liberty nickels, Dannreuther compared the existing reverse detail on each coin. The key location is the bottom of the wreath, including the ribbon bow and the two ears of corn. The photographic evidence is more difficult to place in order than the actual coins, but clearly the Smithsonian, Olsen, and Eliasberg coins were struck before the Walton and McDermott coins. Dannreuther concluded that the Smithsonian coin was first, followed in order by the Olsen, Eliasberg, Walton, and McDermott specimens.
Early Provenance Period
Samuel Brown; August Wagner; Stephen K. Nagy (circa 1924); Wayte Raymond (circa 1924); Col. E.H.R. Green; Col. Green Estate (12/1941); Eric P. Newman and Burdette G. Johnson.
All five 1913 Liberty Head nickels remained together from the day they were made until 1943 when Eric Newman became the last collector to own the five coins. Different numismatic observers have varied opinions regarding the early provenance of the five coins. According to Knight: "It hasn't always been easy to figure who the owners really are. Constructing a reliable pedigree for the 1913 Liberty Head nickels becomes an article of faith for certain periods in the provenance records."
The name Samuel W. Brown appears at the beginning of every provenance record constructed for each of the five known 1913 nickels. Circumstantial evidence clearly points to Brown as the first owner of these nickels, although others were likely involved in their production. We do know that all five coins remained together for many years, from the day they were struck until Eric Newman dispersed them individually in the 1940s.
In his Guide Book to the series, Dave Bowers suggests that Stephen K. Nagy may have been involved as a Brown accomplice, and that Nagy retained ownership of the coins until 1924. Aside from mentioning personal conversations with Nagy, Bowers provides no other documentation.
August Wagner advertised the five coins for sale late in 1923 and early in 1924. It is unclear whether Wagner actually owned the coins at that time, or if he had them on consignment from the true owner.
Wayte Raymond handled the coins circa 1924, placing them with his most important client, Col. E.H.R. Green. Raymond was most likely a dealer intermediary in the transaction rather than an actual owner of the coins. Various sources give different dates for the transaction, normally between 1924 and 1926.
Colonel Edward Howland Robinson Green was the son of Hetty Green, the famous "Witch of Wall Street" who at one time was considered the richest woman in the world. Col. Green was an avid collector of many things. At one time, for example, he owned the entire sheet of "Inverted Jenny" airmail stamps, a philatelic rarity of noted fame. The coins passed into his estate in 1936 and remained there for several years.
Working with his mentor, Burdette G. Johnson, St. Louis collector Eric P. Newman acquired the five coins in December 1941 for