US Coins

Walton 1913 nickel

When the Walton example of the 1913 Liberty Head 5-cent coin was thought lost forever after a disastrous March 9, 1962, car crash, Coin World was less than two years old.

Coin World has followed the five known examples of the 1913 Liberty Head 5-cent coin as they’ve traded hands over the past 50 years, but perhaps no example has been more entwined with this publication than the example owned by George O. Walton.

Its story involves a car crash, bold personalities, a huge reward, a team of experts meeting at midnight in a room with $20 million worth of coins, family and ultimately, redemption.

It is a mix of the National Treasure movies and the new CNBC television series Treasure Detectives, with a happy ending.

At the center of the story lies the Walton heirs and Coin World’s longtime editor, Beth Deisher, who in 2003 suggested that the family bring their coin — which the family long thought was fake — to Baltimore to have a team of experts take a second look.

Their coin was real — the “lost” 1913 Liberty Head 5-cent piece — and the Walton family loaned it to the American Numismatic Association Money Museum in Colorado Springs, Colo., where it has since been viewed by thousands of collectors.

Although the family has decided that now is the time to sell, their adviser aptly stated, “The single fact is that the Walton name is never going to come off that coin. It will always be their coin — the Walton nickel.”

Want to buy it? It can be yours if you’re the high bidder in Schaumburg, Ill., on April 25, when Heritage Auctions presents the coin as part of its Platinum Night at the Central States Numismatic Society 74th Annual Convention.

Initially Heritage experts suggested that the coin may realize $2.5 million or more; in light of the media attention that high-end U.S. rare coins received after the January auction of a 1794 Flowing Hair silver dollar for $10 million, Heritage’s initial estimate may prove conservative.

After all, when it comes to great rarities, one never knows when (or if) another may become available.


Steve Roach

COIN WORLD ... anywhere, anytime!

Community Comments