1913 Liberty Head Nickel brings $3.2m to Heritage

One of the most venerated, valuable and legendary coins in American numismatics, the Walton 1913 Liberty Head Nickel auctioned for $3.2m at Heritage Auctions yesterday (April 26).

2013 marks the coin's centennial year, having been produced in extremely limited quantities in 1913.

Walton 1913 Liberty Head Nickel auctions
All five 1913 Liberty Head Nickels were struck with proof dies and polished to create a mirrored appearance

It is thought to be one of only five examples in existence. Although the Walton Nickel's fame might be attributed to its rarity, it is also the subject of an intriguing tale.

Coin collector George O Walton was on his way to a coin convention with the Nickel when, tragically, he lost his life in a car crash.

The Nickel was recovered from the crash scene and given to Walton's family who attempted to have the coin valued. Mistakenly, the coin was identified as a fake.

Believed to have been lost, the genuine Walton 1913 Liberty Head Nickel languished in a drawer for more than 40 years.

It resurfaced in 2003, when it was correctly identified as the genuine article after the American Numismatic Association (ANA) launched a nationwide search to find the missing fifth example.

The Walton heirs previously loaned their remarkable specimen to the ANA's Edward C Rochette Money Museum in Colorado Springs, where it has been on permanent display for the last nine years.

The current world record price for a coin is $10.0m, achieved by a 1794 Silver Dollar at auction in January.

Coins not only offer strong investment opportunities, but are also fascinating items, steeped in history, which have changed hands thousands of times and have been used in all manner of transactions.

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