A nickel is a nickel is a nickel right? Wrong! Turns out that once in very rare blue moon, this five-cent coin may be worth millions! That apparently is the case with this special 1913 nickel, only five of which, were ever minted.
While that in itself makes it valuable, what makes this coin even more so is the fact that mint worker Samuel W. Brown made it fraudulently. That's because while it features the date 1913, the face on it is not the Buffalo Head, which was introduced that year, but that of the 1912, Liberty Head.
Samuel's craftiness only came to light when he decided to put them up for sale in 1920, after he was sure he could not be arrested due to the number of years that had passed since he committed the fraud. For many years, the nickels were sold as a group to various owners. However, in 1942 they were split up between five owners, one of whom happened to be a North Carolina collector by the name of George O. Watson who paid $3,750 USD in the mid 1940's.
When George passed away in a car crash in 1962, the coin which was found with him was passed on to his sister. But when she tried to get it appraised to see what it was worth, the experts declared it a fake! Luckily, she still tucked it away in her closet where it remained forgotten for 30 years, until she died.
The nickel was inherited by her four kids, one of whom had a nagging suspicion that it may be worth a lot especially, after a family attorney told him about the 1913 nickels and even offered him $5,000 USD on the spot. Fortunately, he did not sell.
In 2003, the four siblings finally decided to get a second opinion and flew to the American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money in Baltimore, where the other four nickels were being exhibited. Sure enough, the experts confirmed that this was indeed the missing 5th nickel.
The siblings who have since lent this precious coin to the American Numismatic Association so that it can be displayed in museums all across the country for all to admire, have finally decided to sell it. Though nobody knows for sure how much it will fetch when it goes up for bidding on April 25th, estimates range from $2.5mm to $5.0mm USD - Given that in 2010 one of these nickels fetched $3.7 million, the speculation may not be too outrageous!