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Atlanta draws rare 1913 nickel

The finest known example of the group of five known 1913 Liberty Head nickels, the Eliasberg-Legend specimen, certified Proof-66 by Professional Coin Grading Service, will be on display Oct. 6-8 at the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Atlanta Expo.

Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics and her two partners, George Huang and Bruce Morelan, purchased the coin for $4,150,000, the highest price ever paid for one of the five famed nickels, and the second-highest price for any rare coin. Only the Farouk-Fenton specimen of the 1933 $20 gold piece, which sold for $7,590,000, has sold higher.

This nickel has been displayed three other times since 2004 – once in Florida and twice on the West Coast.

This exhibit is just as special for Legend Numismatics.

“We love the classic rarities, and owning a 1913 Liberty Head nickel is unlike owning any other coin in the world,” said Sperber.

Expo general manager David Crenshaw shares Sperber’s enthusiasm. “The Whitman Coin and Collectibles Atlanta Expo is excited to provide a venue for collectors and the general public to see one of America’s greatest coins,” he said.

The 1913 Liberty Head nickel story starts with Philadelphia Mint Clerk Samuel Brown and perhaps others secretly making the nickels using Mint equipment. In 1919, Brown ran an advertisement in The Numismatist offering to buy 1913 Liberty Head nickels for $500. He exhibited them at the 1920 annual convention of the American Numismatic Association in Chicago.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding how the 1913 Liberty Head nickels came into existence, they remain today in the U.S. coinage spotlight.
The last time all five 1913 Liberty Head nickels were sold as a set was in 1942, to Eric P. Newman and B.G. Johnson. Afterwards, it was broken up and each coin went its separate way.

The 1913 nickel has been much in the news since 2003 when a long-lost example surfaced in the hands of the family of the last known owner at the American Numismatic Association Convention. That story has helped motivate continuing interest in the rarity and has probably contributed to its escalating price. Collectors have thronged shows where the nickel has been exhibited.

In addition to this and other exhibits, the Expo will feature educational seminars, a collaborative auction by Stack’s and American Numismatic Rarities, a special program for young collectors, and book signings by the leading authors in the business.

The Expo opens at 10 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 6 at the Cobb Galleria Centre. Admission is free.

For the latest information about the Expo and next year’s shows, visit www.WhitmanExpo.com.

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