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1913 Liberty Nickel Changes Hands for $6 Million

Graded PCGS PR-66, the 1913 Liberty nickel is the finest-known specimen. 

Graded PCGS PR-66, the 1913 Liberty nickel is the finest-known specimen. 

Bruce Morelan and Legend Numismatics recently completed an historic $6 million transaction to reclaim an exquisite collection of Liberty nickels, including the 1913 Liberty nickel. The sets, encompassing United States nickels dated from 1883 through 1913, were sold to Legend Numismatics by longtime collector Jerry Forsythe, who commissioned Laura Sperber and her Lincroft, N.J., auction firm to build the sets.

Bruce Morelan purchased the 1913 Liberty nickel as part of a Liberty nickel collection built by Jerry Forsythe and Legend Numismatics. Price tag for the collection of nickels totaled $6 million. 

Bruce Morelan purchased the 1913 Liberty nickel as part of a Liberty nickel collection built by Jerry Forsythe and Legend Numismatics. Price tag for the collection of nickels totaled $6 million. 

“This specimen of the 1913 Liberty nickel was once owned by legendary collector Louis Eliasberg and, graded PCGS PR-66, is the finest specimen known,” explains Brett Charville, president of PCGS, which graded the 1913 Liberty nickel and other pieces in the Liberty nickel sets procured by Morelan. “Bruce and Laura as a team have built some of the finest coin collections of our generation. Their collaboration exemplifies the amazing accomplishments that can be achieved when an ultimate collector like Bruce works with a true numismatic advocate like Laura.”

Both the Mint State and proof collections of Liberty nickels are ranked as number-one sets in the PCGS Set Registry, meaning these collections of Liberty nickels cumulatively boast the highest overall grade-point average of coins for all such registered sets. The keystone coin for the Proof Liberty Nickels With 1913 Proof (1883-1913) PCGS Registry Set is the 1913 proof Liberty nickel, and this transaction marks the third time Morelan has owned this exact specimen.

“It clearly is one of his all-time favorite coins,” said Laura Sperber, founder of Legend Numismatics, of the Liberty nickel. “Bruce has no plans on selling it and is planning to keep it alongside his 1794 PCGS SP-66 Flowing Hair dollar and 1804 PCGS PR-65 Draped Bust dollar as family heirlooms.”

Sperber went on to say, “As a previous owner, the late Dr. Morton Smith, once said, ‘This coin needs a good home, [and] I am it.’ Morelan has the same feeling, and it’s his belief the 1913 Liberty nickel is one of the greatest coins to own in all of numismatics.”

Morelan, whose recently repurchased 1913 Liberty nickel previously sold at auction in 2018 for $4.56 million, further cements his place among the greatest collectors of all time.

“Not many collectors have owned both a 1913 Liberty nickel and 1804 Draped Bust dollar,” Morelan notes. “Those two coins are so rare and popular, and simultaneous ownership just hasn’t happened much.”

His achievements put him in the company of but a handful of prestigious collectors to include Eliasberg and Reed Hawn. Morelan plans on displaying his prized 1913 Liberty nickel at some point in the future.