The Status of a Legendary Rarity

One of the most sought after coins ever minted, is the 1913 Head Liberty Nickel. It is part of a series that was originally struck in 1883 with its production was supposed to have ceased in 1912. The coin was to be replaced by the Buffalo Head design, which had gone into production in February of 1913. Somehow, at least five Liberty Head coins were also produced. Prior to this, the US Mint had issued this nickel piece in the millions.

The first known collector of these rare coins was Samuel Brown. He managed to acquire all five of the known coins into his possession, thanks to his offer to buy proofs of this coin for the price of $500. This would have been a handsome sum of money, back in 1920. Brown knew well that the Liberty Nickel was only issued in limited quantities, because he had worked at the Mint, during the time it was struck. Incidentally, only three of the coins were actually struck; the other two were simply proofs.

To get an idea of the rarity and the value of the 1913 Liberty Nickel, one of the three coins that are still in private collections was sold for a staggering 5 million dollars US, in 2007. That was the second highest amount ever paid for a coin, up to that point.  The highest amount every paid for a coin was for a $20 denomination Double Eagle gold coin which had been minted in 1933. To date, there have only been 5 pieces that have ever been found, two of which are now housed in museums.

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