No one offers a penny for nickel worth millions

Published January 3, 2007

ORLANDO - A rare nickel thought to be worth about $5-million didn't fetch a cent at auction Tuesday.

The coin is one of five known 1913 Liberty Head nickels. New York's Stack's Rare Coin Galleries showed the nickel, which was struck clandestinely at the Philadelphia mint after its design was retired.

Bidding started at $4.5-million, but no one made an offer for it.

"But we aren't disappointed. We've very happy to still own the coin," said Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics New Jersey. She is a minority owner of the nickel.

Sperber said someone at the auction was interested in the nickel and asked to meet with the owners next week.

Last year, the same coin was sold in New Hampshire for $4.15-million to one of its current owners, Bruce Morelan, a lifelong collector of coins.

Liberty Head nickels were minted from 1883 to 1912. The design was retired and replaced by nickels depicting an American Indian on one side and a bison on the other.

While the Liberty Head nickel is silver in color, it is not made of that metal. It is made of 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel, like most nickels since 1866.

The highest sale price of a rare U.S. coin was for a $20 gold piece minted in 1933 that was sold in 2002 for $7.59-million.