1913 Liberty Head Nickel
The existence of any 1913 Liberty Head Nickels has long been a mystery. The design was retired in 1912 in favor of the new Indian Head Nickel design and so no 1913 Liberty Head Nickels should have been produced. However, the dies (casts used to strike coins) had already been made and five nickels with the Liberty Head design were struck. A coin collector named Samuel Brown — who coincidentally had been an employee of the U.S. Mint in 1913 — announced at the American Numismatic Association’s annual convention that he had all five. In 1924, Brown sold his nickels to a dealer. Over the years, they passed between dealers and collectors and, in 1996, one of Brown’s Liberty Head Nickels became the first U.S. coin to command more than $1,000,000 at auction. Currently, all five of the nickels are in the hands of private collectors; one especially fine specimen sold for more than $3,000,000 this year!