Two Famous Rare Coins sold for USD$7.87 million By Heritage Auctions In Orlando, Thursday night, Jan. 9, 2014; 1787 Brasher Gold Doubloon brings $4.58 million; 1913 Liberty Nickel, "The Hawaii Five-O Specimen" brings $3.29 million. The coins were sold as part of an auction that has grossed more than $55 million so far and may be on track to break the all-time record (approximately $78 million in January 2007, also conducted by Heritage) for any numismatic auction.
Brasher Doubloon hand-struck in 1787 by George Washington's New York City neighbor, Ephraim Brasher. This particular Brasher Doubloon has been off the market since it was purchased by a Chicago resident in 1979 for a then-record price of $430,000. It was the subject of a Raymond Chandler book, a Hollywood movie and it was displayed by a previous owner at the 1964 World's Fair in New York City. The recent private sale of the AU50 Bushnell Brasher doubloon for nearly USD$7.4 million suggests that this finest-certified MS63 example is poised to reclaim its title of "World's Most Valuable Coin" one day.
The nickel made under mysterious circumstances at the Philadelphia Mint in 1913, and which was famously featured in an episode of the 1970s television show "Hawaii Five-O". In the 1970s, one of the five 1913 Liberty nickels was believed to be lost and another had sold privately for $100,000 and this very coin became a TV star. It became the "central character" of a Hawaii Five-O episode appropriately titled "The $100,000 Nickel." The genuine Olsen specimen was only used for the close-up shots during filming. For all other scenes the nickel had its own "stunt double."
The Olsen 1913 Liberty Head nickel in this FUN Platinum Night session is offered for only the eighth time in history, while the four other coins have appeared only six times in total -- making this the 14th time any 1913 Liberty nickel has ever been offered at auction.
In the 21st century, the 2003 reappearance of the "lost" fifth known Walton specimen of the 1913 Liberty nickel again capture the attention of numismatists and noncollectors alike. Just last April, Heritage auction the Walton nickel coin for the first time ever. It sold for $3,172,500, the second-highest price ever for a 1913 Liberty.
"The legendary Brasher Doubloon is one of the most important coins in American history because it's the first gold coin struck for the young United States and it's one of only a handful that exist," said Todd Imhof, Executive Vice President of Heritage Auctions, "This is a record auction price for one of these historic, early American coins."
"The 1913 Liberty Head nickel is one of only five known," said Imhof, "and were struck under mysterious circumstances at the Philadelphia Mint. Their existence wasn't publicly revealed until 1920, when five of these coins were offered for sale by a man who used to work at the Mint."
One of the previous owners of the "Hawaii-Five-O" nickel was Jerry Buss, the late owner of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team who purchased this particular coin in 1985 and sold it in 1993. One of the other five known 1913 Liberty Head nickels is in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.
The coin offered here also easily bested the 1804 dollar in the Ten Eyck sale. Even the redoubtable 1822 half eagle and the unique 1870-S three dollar gold piece in the Eliasberg Collection had to settle for a second-place tie behind the Stickney-Garrett specimen of the Brasher doubloon when those great collections were sold in close proximity in the late 1970s-early 1980s.
Source: Heritage Auction.