This is worth so much more than a plugged nickel.
One of the rarest coins in U.S. history was sold by a Florida family for $4.2 million to a California coin company and auction house.
GreatCollections, located in Irvine, purchased one of five known specimens of a 1913 Liberty Head nickel, known as the Walton nickel, The Associated Press reported. Two copies of the coin are in museums.
It is the second 1913 Liberty nickel bought by the company, according to GreatCollections President Ian Russell. Last year, GreatCollections bought the nickel as part of a $13.35 million three-coin transaction with an 1804 silver dollar and an 1894-S dime in proof condition.
The Firmin family in Florida had owned the Walton nickel since 2018, GreatCollections said in a news release.
Russell said that the coin was once owned by George O. Walton, a North Carolina collector who was killed in a 1962 automobile crash. The coin was recovered from the crash, but his heirs were erroneously told that the nickel was a fake.
“Walton’s sister in Virginia kept it in a closet for decades,” Russell said. “The coin was off the radar until 2003 when a nationwide search was conducted, and Walton’s nephew and nieces submitted it for authentication to experts at Professional Coin Grading Service.”
In 2013, the coin was sold at an auction for $3,172,500. The Firmin family bought the nickel five years later.
“Our family thoroughly enjoyed owning the Walton nickel for the past four years and it was fulfilling for us to have it on display at the American Numismatic Association Money Museum in Colorado and in exhibits across the country during this time,” Ron Firman, of Miami, said in a statement.
According to the Littleton Coin Company in New Hampshire, the Liberty Head nickel was replaced after 1912 by the Indian Head nickel — more commonly known as the Buffalo nickel. However, five Liberty nickel proofs were minted illegally by Samuel W. Brown, an official at the Philadelphia Mint.
The existence of the coins remained a secret until 1919 when the statute of limitations for prosecuting Brown expired, the Littleton Coin Company said.
Brown sold the coins for $600 apiece to August Wagner, a Philadelphia dealer.
Numismatist Dave Bowers once called the 1913 Liberty nickel “probably the most famous coin in the world.”
According to the Littleton Coin Company, the nickel was once the focal point on an episode of the crime drama “Hawaii Five-O,” and one coin that became the first to sell for more than $1 million at a public auction.