The Rise to Stardom of the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel
Thursday night in Orlando Florida at the United Numismatists convention with the Heritage auction
featured rare coins but starred the 1913 Liberty Head nickel. This coin has a very interesting history
behind it being it was the first coin auctioned at six figures. Which was in 1972 for 100,000 dollars
the sale was brokered by Abe Kosoff. And the owner at that time was Edwin Hydeman the coin was
sold to Worldwide Coin Investments of Atlanta. But at Thursday nights auction the coin was auctioned for a hefty 3.7 million dollars.
So let's trace this back to the beginning over 90 years ago to December of 1919 when former Mint
employee Samuel Brown advertised the coin in the Ana's monthly periodical. The Numismatist that he was willing to buy the coin for $500. No one responded to the ad because Samuel Brown had all of the specimens that existed. He was creating what we would call today in the era of Home Based Business and Internet Marketing a Niche Market. This marketing campaign was very successful. To the point where in 1930 at the height of the Great Depression, B. Max Mehl a coin
dealer from Texas launched a national search for the coins offering to buy the nickel for $50.
As a result of the ad campaign of B. Max Mehl that used match book covers to circulate his call to action. At this point in history radio was a new medium with these to forms of advertising his offering $50 for a nickel created a national frenzy to locate the coin. Back to the beginning evidence
points to Samuel Brown while still a Mint employee seized the moment and using government dies
and planchets minted the 5 coins while awaiting for the Treasury chief to change the design of the
Indian Head obverse and the Bison reverse.
Here is the changing of hands for the the Famous Five nickels. 1920 Col. Ned Green, son of " Witch
of Wall St." Hetty Green, in 1941 Eric P. Newman and Burdette G. Johnson who were in charge of the numismatic holdings of the Green estate. Later that year they went to Newman who 98 St. Louis attorney and numismatic researcher. There are 19 different sales records of the coins changing hands from one modern numismatist to the other. In 1941 the coins exchanged hands 4 times Fred Olson
purchased fro $900 from James Kelly, Dr Conway Bolt of North Carolina at $2,450 also from Kelly.
Fred C.C. Boyd purchased one coin for a unknown price, J.V. McDermott also purchased a coin in 1941. King Farouk acquired two in 1944.
Aubrey Bebee in 1967 made a winning bid at the American Numismatic Association convention in Miami of $46,000 which was the highest a coin fetched to that day. In 1972 World Wide Coin of
Atlanta purchased the Hydeman coin for $100,000 a new bid record. The coin was featured on the 1968-1980 T.V. Show Hawaii Five-0, Thursday night in Orlando it was sold for 3.7 million dollars so here is the story of coin super stardom.