'Mona Lisa of rare coins' fetches $3.7m


2015-06-26 11:48:02


'Mona Lisa of rare coins' fetches $3.7m

The legend of the 1913 Olsen Liberty Nickel lives on

Heritage is delighted to have sold the 1913 Olsen Liberty Nickel for $3.7m at their annual Florida United Numismatics (or FUN) auction.

1913 Olsen Liberty Head NickelOlsen Liberty Head Nickel (Click to enlarge)

To collectors of rare coins, the 1913 Liberty Nickels are as good as it gets. Just five of the coins were ever minted with the Liberty head (all 1913 nickels were supposed to have the new 'Buffalo' design).

Despite suspicions that all five were a 'private minting', created for the market by the first known owner and mint employee Samuel Brown with help from his colleagues, the coins have continued to fascinate numismatists everywhere and the price tags have risen rapidly.

One collector who owned all five coins was multi-millionaire Col Ned Green, whose collection we focussed on in a recent newsletter.

Two of the coins are in museums, and of those in private hands the Olsen nickel is easily the most famous, having been the subject of an episode of Hawai'i Five-O in 1973. It was then referred to as the $100,000 nickel, having just become the first coin to be sold for six figures.

The coin is named after Fred Olsen, a numismatist who sold it onto King Farouk of Egypt. All the 1913 Liberty Nickels are named after great collectors who owned them.

1913 Liberty Head Nickels1913 Liberty Head Nickels From left: Eliasberg, Olsen, Norweb, Walton and McDermott examples (Click to enlarge)

The unwavering rise in value of the Olsen nickel just shows what a solid investment high-end collectible coins can be. Those wishing to start or improve their collection should take a look at these rare coins which are currently available.

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