A rare 1913 U.S. nickel has sold at auction for more than $3.1 million. The coin, a 1913 Liberty Head nickel, is only one of five ever made.
The 1913 Liberty Head nickel is so famous because it was never supposed to have even been minted.
The U.S. Mint had stopped making the Liberty Head in 1912, but historians believe a mint worker made the five 1913 coins for himself. In 1920, the former Mint employee put the five coins on display, then sold them over the next few years.
The murky and fascinating story continued for the coins.
George Walton obtained one of the five Liberty Head nickels, but in 1962, he died in car crash while en route to a coin show. At the time, appraisers told his family the coin was fake, but his sister kept it anyway. Thus the coin sat in a closet for four decades before it was re-assessed in 2003 and declared authentic.
The new owners of the 1913 Liberty Head nickel are Jeff Garrett, of Lexington, KY, and Larry Lee, of Panama City, FL.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.