Art and Antiques

Rare Nickel Coin Sells for $3.17 Million

Ivan Andrews / July 4, 2013

Nothing can perhaps define the mystique of the famed Nickel coin better than the words of Gregory Rohan, the President of Heritage Auctions. He described it to be the sexiest of all the coins. The coin which was known by the name of Walton nickel was estimated to generate $2.5 million at its auction. However, it surpassed all the estimates and sold for about $3.17 million. The auction was held in early April and attracted worldwide attention.

What makes this nickel coin so exclusive and expensive is that the coin is old, rare and was part of a series of five coins that got struck at the United States mint in the state of Philadelphia in 1913.

The history of the coin is not less impressive. During those times, a buffalo image was all set to change the Liberty head design. However, while the changes were done on all other coins that got produced at that point but five of all what were produced had got struck with the old image.

The coin which underwent auction was therefore not supposed to exist and this is the sole reason that the coin gained immense popularity and was considered special.

The coins remained elusive till 1920 and the other four coins bearing the Liberty head had fallen into hands of different people. This coin went missing as its collector George Walton was untraceable.

Walton had reportedly bought the coin for a sum of $3750. George Walton was killed on way to a coin collection show and his coin collections were recovered by the authorities.

An interesting fact here is that his family was kept in the dark about the real position of the coin and in turn they were informed that the Nickel coin that George Walton possessed was fake. A theory is mentioned here as to why his family were convinced into thinking that the coin was fake.

Rohan mentions that the shop to which the coin was taken for checking its authenticity was perhaps used to checking only fake coins and labelled this rare nickel coin too as a fake. The Walton family thereafter locked the nickel coin in the closet considering it to be a fake. They infact put a small note on the coin labelling it as a fake.

About a decade ago, a promotion sale was organized for the four nickel coins of that time. An award of $1 Million too was announced for anyone who brought in the fifth missing coin. The Walton family decided that they need to bring it to the notice of everyone that they possessed the fifth coin, though they themselves were not convinced about the coin’s authenticity as it had been labelled as a fake earlier.

The family was pleasantly surprised to know that the coin was genuine indeed and decided to preserve it, with the intention to sell it off to another collector on its hundredth anniversary.

The coin was reportedly sold for over $3 Million finally, given its unique history and its value.




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