$5 Million Nickel?

1913 Liberty Head Nickel to be Auctioned at ANA

The Eliasberg 1913 Liberty Head nickel, one of only five ever produced, is the finest graded example of its kind. (Image courtesy Stack's Bowers Galleries.)

Don’t have two nickels to rub together? Well how about just one worth $3 to $5 million+? Stack’s Bowers Galleries has announced it will be selling the finest and most valuable U.S. nickel in existence at its official auction of the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money at Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Convention Center, August 14-18.

The Eliasberg 1913 Liberty Head nickel, one of only five ever produced, is the finest graded example of its kind and traces its provenance to the only complete collection of United States coins by date and mintmark, according to Stack’s Bowers. It comes from the family of Dr. William Morton-Smith, an old-time collector whose numismatic interests were spurred by a remarkable discovery.

Morton-Smith’s passion for collecting goes back generations. As in any family, certain heirlooms pass down through the generations and in this particular circumstance, a beautiful antique Colonial desk was inherited by Bill. As he was combing through the desk discovering its many features, he came across a compartment that housed a coin collection consisting of colonial coins, half cents, large cents, a complete set of proof Liberty Head nickels, and much more. These had once belonged to his great grandfather.

Bill was amazed that the coins had been in the desk all this time. He determined to learn all he could about them and add to the collection. He spent decades adding important rarities to the collection, which had been started generations before. A connoisseur at heart, he pursued other collectibles, all of which he enjoyed sharing with others.

Named for the collector who bought it in 1948 and amassed the greatest coin collection in U.S. history, Louis E. Eliasberg Sr., the Eliasberg 1913 Liberty Head nickel was the centerpiece of his collection, which included a cabinet complete with every date and mintmark from the 1793 half cent to the 1933 double eagle. No collection like this had been assembled before, and none like it will likely ever be formed again.

The other four 1913 Liberty Head Nickels have gone on to private collectors and museums, including the Smithsonian, but none are as finely graded as the Eliasberg example, which is graded Proof-66 by PCGS. It is expected that this nickel will sell for $3 to $5 million, perhaps making it one of the five most valuable coin U.S. coins ever sold at auction, says Stack’s Bowers.

For more details on this coin and the ANA auction, visit Stack’s Bowers’ website.


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