In The News

Rare nickel worth $5 million to be auctioned at World's Fair of Money


Published: Aug 1, 2018

By Emily Rolen, Philly Voice

One of the rarest nickels to be ever made, worth an estimated $5 million, is coming to Philly next month for the American Numismatic Association's World's Fair. 

This coin, called the Eliasberg 1913 Liberty Head Nickel, is only one of five ever produced. 

It's going to be sold to a buyer willing to shell out some serious cash — the kind we use today — during an auction on Wednesday, Aug. 15 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philly, for those of you interested in seeing coin history be made.

The nickel has an interesting backstory, even from a non-collector's perspective. It all started with a man named William Morton-Smith, who was an impassioned collector. But not a collector like your snow globe collection. The man spent decades collecting rarities to add to his colonial-era collection.

He started a collection after he inherited a colonial desk from his great grandfather. He was combing through the drawers when he came across a compartment that held a rare coin collection — colonial coins, half cents, large cents, all belonging to his great grandfather.

From then on, he dedicated himself to his own collection. In 1948, a man named Louis E. Eliasberg garnered the reputation for amassing the greatest coin collection in U.S. history – a valiant title.

The 1913 Liberty Head Nickel — eventually named after Eliasberg — stood at the centerpiece of his collection. In 2007, one of the other five such coins sold for $5 millionby an anonymous California collector.

"No collection like this had been assembled before, and none like it will likely ever be formed again," according to the Stack's Bowers Galleries, the oldest numismatic auction house in America.

In 2017, Stack's sold nine of the 10 most valuable coins in the world. And the most valuable collection, too, called The Pogue Collection, which went for a whopping $106,000.

The American Numismatic Association will host $1 billion in historic rare coins and colorful American currencies from Aug. 14-18 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. You can get your tickets here.