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$4.2 Million for Liberty Head Nickel

The Walton 1913 Liberty Head nickel. (All images courtesy GreatCollections.)

The Walton 1913 Liberty Head nickel. (All images courtesy GreatCollections.)

The famed Walton 1913 Liberty Head nickel has been acquired by GreatCollections for $4.2 million. It is the second of only five known examples of the ultra-rare 1913 Liberty Head nickel purchased by GreatCollections within 12 months.

The Walton 1913 nickel has one of the greatest stories to ever be told in U.S. numismatics. After being recovered from a deadly automobile accident in 1962, it was stored in an heir’s closet for decades before being uncovered to national fanfare in 2003. It was auctioned 10 years later in 2013 for $3,172,500. The sellers, the Firman family, acquired the coin in 2018.

Ian Russell, president of GreatCollections, holds two multi-million-dollar U.S. 1913 Liberty Head nickels that he has purchased in the past year, including the one on the left he just acquired from a Florida family for $4.2 million. Only five 1913-dated Liberty Head nickels are known.

Ian Russell, president of GreatCollections, holds two multi-million-dollar U.S. 1913 Liberty Head nickels that he has purchased in the past year, including the one on the left he just acquired from a Florida family for $4.2 million. Only five 1913-dated Liberty Head nickels are known.

The coin was authenticated and graded PRF-63 by Professional Coin Grading Service in 2013.

On behalf of the sellers, Ron Firman said, “Our family thoroughly enjoyed owning the Walton 1913 nickel for the past four years and it was very fulfilling for us to have it on display at the American Numismatic Association Money Museum for all to enjoy during this entire period. The transaction with Ian [Russell] and GreatCollections could not have gone any smoother. Ian was highly professional, worked quickly and took care of everything. We are looking forward to our next quest in museum-quality rarities for display.”

With only five coins known and two of those in permanent museum collections, GreatCollections acquired the Eliasberg example of the 1913 nickel last year in an historic $13.35 million three-coin Thanksgiving day transaction with the Dexter 1804 silver dollar and 1894-S proof dime.

“The 1913 nickel is one of the few coins that transcends into the non-numismatic world, and to handle two of these in a short period of time has been a thrill,” said Ian Russell, president of GreatCollections. “The coin market continues to gain strength, especially in rarities and ultra-rarities. We continue to maintain wantlists for the most serious collectors in U.S. coins today.”

Over the years, some of the biggest names in numismatics have owned a 1913 nickel, including King Farouk of Egypt, Louis Eliasberg, Col. EHR Green, Eric Newman, Dr. Jerry Buss, Bruce Morelan and Gerald Forsythe.

“It is difficult to comprehend that all three 1913 nickels in private hands have found new homes in the past 12 months, and I do not believe any of the three will be on the market again in the near future,” said Russell. “It could be decades before we see one again.”

The original Capitol Plastics holder for the Walton Liberty Head Nickel.

The original Capitol Plastics holder for the Walton Liberty Head Nickel.