"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.
$2,000. The total purchase price was less than Samuel Brown offered to pay for the coins in 1919.
Newman made the initial contact with executors of the Col. Green estate through his desire to acquire a rare U.S. demand note from St. Louis. The response was that he would have to buy all of the Missouri currency, which he did. He and B.G. Johnson formed a partnership to acquire additional portions of the Green Collection, eventually including all five 1913 Liberty Head nickels. Two of the coins were purchased on December 16, 1941, for $500 each, and the other three were purchased on December 29, 1941, for $333 each. The dates represent receipt of payment by the Green estate executors.
Newman retained the finest piece (the Eliasberg specimen) for his own collection and sold the other four through Johnson. Two pieces were sold to James Kelly on March 11, 1943, for $750 each, another was sold to Kelly on March 17, 1943, for $750, and one piece was sold to F.C.C. Boyd on April 22, 1943, for $1,000. Transaction dates are from copies of Johnson's original invoices in Newman's possession.
Modern Provenance Period
From 1943 to the present day, each of the five nickels has traveled a different road. Here is a record of the provenance for each nickel, along with a photo of each coin. They are presented in the assumed order that each coin was actually struck.
The Norweb-Smithsonian Specimen PR60.
Eric P. Newman; B.G. Johnson (4/22/1943); F.C.C. Boyd (1944); Numismatic Gallery (1944); King Farouk (1952); Government of Egypt (Sotheby's, 2/1954), lot 1695; Abe Kosoff and Sol Kaplan (1954); Emery May Holden Norweb (1978); Smithsonian Institution.
The authors of Million Dollar Nickels comment: "Owned by a Middle Eastern poten-tate, a rebellious North African government, an American Ambassador's wife, and the prestigious Smithsonian Institution, this specimen can easily lay claim to having the most stately masters."
The Olsen-Hawn Specimen PR64 NGC. The Present Specimen.
Eric P. Newman; B.G. Johnson (3/1943); James F. Kelly (1943); Fred E. Olsen; B. Max Mehl (11/1944), lot 1551; King Farouk; Numismatic Fine Arts (5/1946), lot 1058, unsold; King Farouk; B. Max Mehl (6/1947), lot 2798; Edwin Hydeman (Abe Kosoff, 3/1961), lot 280, unsold; Edwin Hydeman (1972); World Wide Coin Investments; World Wide Coin Investments and Bowers and Ruddy Galleries; World Wide Coin Investments; Robert L. Hughes Enterprises (1977); Superior Galleries (1977); Dr. Jerry Buss (Superior Galleries, 1/1985), lot 366; Reed Hawn (Stack's, 10/1993), lot 245; Spectrum Numismatics; Nevada Investor (7/2002); Bruce Morelan and Legend Numismatics (2004); John Albanese and Blanchard & Co., Inc.; private collection.
Circa 1975, Bowers and Ruddy Galleries purchased a half interest in the Olsen specimen, but then had second thoughts and sold their share back to World Wide. Continental Coin Corporation is sometimes mentioned in the provenance of this coin following World Wide Coin Investments. However, Warren Tucker states that his firm sold the coin directly to Robert Hughes.