Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), the official grading service of the American Numismatic Association (ANA), has confirmed the authenticity of the 1913 Liberty Head nickel that was rediscovered at the ANA convention in Baltimore this summer after being out of sight for more than 40 years.
"This coin would likely grade Proof-62" - Rick Montgomery
Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), the official
grading service of the American Numismatic Association
(ANA), has confirmed the authenticity of the 1913 Liberty
Head nickel that was rediscovered at the ANA convention
in Baltimore this summer after being out of sight for
more than 40 years.
For the first time since 1920, all five of the 1913
Liberty Head nickels were displayed at the ANA World's
Fair of Money® in Baltimore, July 30-August 3. This
rediscovered specimen disappeared after a 1962 auto
accident that took the life of its owner, George O.
Walton. Thought to be an altered date, the coin remained
closeted until it was examined at the show in Baltimore
and declared authentic. It now is on loan to the ANA
Money Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
"A coin of this magnitude doesn't come along very
often," says ANA Executive Director Christopher
Cipoletti. "As the Association's official grading
service, NGC was asked to inspect it and verify the
legitimacy of this great numismatic rarity. We were
fortunate to have Rick Montgomery, one of the most recognized
numismatic authenticators, review this specimen."
After examining the rare nickel and comparing it to
the specimen in the ANA Money Museum's collection, Montgomery,
NGC vice president and grading finalizer, says, "I
have had the opportunity to analyze other examples of
this rarity, and there is no question in my mind that
this piece is genuine. If I were to grade it as part
of the NGC grading team, I would say this coin would
likely grade Proof-62."
Montgomery says he "loves the story" of the
Walton 1913 Liberty nickel. "It has a better story
line than a Sherlock Holmes mystery."
Five 1913 Liberty Head nickels were produced 90 years
ago under mysterious circumstances when the United States
Mint was changing from the Liberty Head to the Buffalo
design. The five coins remained as a set until the 1940s,
when they were separated and sold. One of them now is
a permanent part of the ANA Museum cabinet, another is part of the Smithsonian Institution's
collection and the other three rare nickels are in private
Walton acquired his rare nickel in 1946 and showed it
for 16 years before he died on his way to a coin show.
His vast collection was sold at auction in 1963 for
nearly $873,000, but his heirs were told the famous
nickel was one of many altered-date coins produced over
the years and thus worthless.
Walton's relatives, who wish to remain anonymous, kept
the piece closeted for four decades. As part of producing
the exhibit for the ANA Baltimore convention, Walton
family members began corresponding with ANA Curator
Lawrence Lee, who arranged for them to bring what was
thought to be their altered-date specimen to the show
for inclusion in an exhibit of the other four specimens.
Lee believed the coin, even if an altered date, would
draw attention to the display since it belonged to the
last owner of the genuine specimen. Before placing the
nickel in the display case, and after a thorough examination
and comparison with the other rare nickels, the Walton
piece was declared genuine.
"I appreciate the honor personally and on behalf
of NGC to examine this rarity," Montgomery says.
"Although I didn't know where it would be discovered,
I always knew that, because of its history, the coin
would be found."