America's Most Fascinating Nickel Sells for $3.2M

...or 63.45 million nickels

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 26, 2013 10:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – America's most fascinating nickel sold yesterday for a staggering 63.45 million nickels—or $3,172,500, reports the Chicago Tribune. The 1913 Liberty Head nickel is one of only five known to exist, and had been expected to go for $2.5 million. Not bad for a coin that spent decades sitting in a closet. But that's not the most intriguing part of the coin's backstory: A rogue worker at the Philadelphia mint is believed to have struck the coin in late 1912, the final year of its issue, but with the year 1913 cast on its face.

This coin later surfaced in a fiery 1962 car crash; the driver was on his way to a coin show. His sister was told the coin was fake, so she filed it away in an envelope bearing the words, "It's not real." She died without knowing its worth; her heirs had the coin reappraised a decade ago. The winning bidders were two men from Lexington, Kentucky, and Panama City, Florida, who bought the coin in partnership, notes the AP.

This Jan. 2, 2013 image provided by Heritage Auctions shows an authentic 1913 Liberty Head nickel that was hidden in a Virginia closet for 41 years after its owners were mistakenly told it was a fake.
This Jan. 2, 2013 image provided by Heritage Auctions shows an authentic 1913 Liberty Head nickel that was hidden in a Virginia closet for 41 years after its owners were mistakenly told it was a fake.   (Uncredited)
This 1913 Liberty Head Nickel - one of only five known to exist - was auctioned Thursday, April 25, 2013.
This 1913 Liberty Head Nickel - one of only five known to exist - was auctioned Thursday, April 25, 2013.   (Patrick Kunzer)
This 1913 Liberty Head Nickel - one of only five known to exist - was auctioned Thursday, April 25, 2013.
This 1913 Liberty Head Nickel - one of only five known to exist - was auctioned Thursday, April 25, 2013.   (Patrick Kunzer)
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