Liberty Head 'Walton' nickel from 1913 rakes in more than $3m at auction

The 5 cent coin was one of five produced illegally by a rogue US Mint worker

A 5 cent coin with a chequered history has been sold for over $3 million at an auction.

The Liberty Head nickel, one of five illegally produced in 1913 by a rogue US Mint worker a year after they stopped making them, went up for sale at a coin convention just outside of Chicago yesterday, where it was snapped up for $3,172,500 (£2,050,000).

After its production, the Mint worker went on to display the five coins and a collectors convention before selling them over the course of a few years.

In the mid-1940s the nickel was sold for a reported $3,750 to a man called George Walton. It was then passed down to his sister Melva Given when he died in a car crash in 1962. After an auction house mistakenly deemed it fake, she put it away at the bottom of a closet with a note labelled "It's not real".

The coin was rediscovered by Ms Given's children following her death in 1992, who took it to the American Numismatic Association's World Fair of Money in Baltimore in 2003, spurred on by a publicity stunt launched by former ANA governer Donn Pearlman, who was offering $1m to purchase the missing fifth specimen.

David Hall, an expert at the Professional Coin Grading Service, was one of the first to confirm the coin's authenticity, telling the Chigaco Tribune: "The minute I looked at it, I was 99.9 per cent".

The winning bidder at the Central States Numismatic Society Convention in Schaumburg, Illinois, was coin dealer and numismatic author Jeff Garrett, who said owning a 1913 nickel had always been one of his dreams.

The Walton heirs reportedly plan to split the proceeds equally.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test