A vintage silver dollar, a 19th century dime, and an early 20th century nickel with a combined face value of $1.15 have been sold by Las Vegas, Nevada collector Bruce Morelan for $13.35 million. The three historic rare coins were purchased for a record price by Ian Russell, president of GreatCollections
Coin Auctions of Irvine, California.
These are the Big Three of U.S. numismatics, said Russell. The coins are the finest example of the five known 1913 Liberty Head nickels, a high-grade example of one of the nine known 1894-dated dimes struck at the San Francisco Mint and one of finest of the 15 known King of Coins, an 1804-dated U.S. silver dollar.
Morelan, acquired the coins over the past four years working with dealer Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics in Lincroft, New Jersey. The coins were authenticated by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS).
The PCGS Price Guide estimated the combined value of the Big Three at $10.85 million, but I happily paid 23 percent more, $13.35 million, for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get the Holy Trinity all at one time. Each of the three coins set a new record price, stated Russell.
The 1913 Liberty Head nickels are among the most famous and coveted rarities with only five examples known. Two are permanently in museum collections including one at the Smithsonian, leaving just three for the public to own, he explained.
Prior to Morelans and Russells acquisitions of the 1804 dollar, 1894 San Francisco dime, and 1913 Liberty Head nickel, only a few other collectors are known to have owned examples of all three. They included the late owner of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team Dr. Jerry Buss (1933-2013) and the late Baltimore financier Louis E. Eliasberg Sr. (1896-1976).
Similar to other collectibles, the rare coin market is continuing to build on the momentum of the past year. This transaction is further proof of the depth and liquidity of multi-million-dollar numismatic rarities, said Russell.