The $3 million Nickel

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The next time you pass a penny or nickel lying on the ground, you may want to reconsider that whole “find a penny, pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck” theory and actually take a moment to grab the tiny treasure because you never know what you could be placing into your pocket.

A rare nickel which dates back to 1913 is heading to auction in January in Orland, Florida and it is expected to fetch $3 million.

While this isn’t your run-of-the-mill “I found it on the street” nickel, it is one of only five ever made. The nickel is considered to be so valuable because it was struck when the U.S. mint was in the process of switching designs and all new nickels were going to show a Native American head on one side of the coin and a bison on the other.

But this coin only received one of the reforms—making it worth millions of dollars in today’s market. The side which shows the bison was updated accordingly; however instead of implementing the planned Native American head on the other side, the coin still bears the figure of the statue of liberty. “Essentially, it is a halfway house between one period of American coinage and the next,” which is why, when it goes to auction in January, it is estimated to steal the show.

While the coin’s rarity is certainly a valuable selling point, it was also owned by King Farouk of Egypt before in 1978 Los Angeles Lakers owner, Dr. Jerry Buss, paid $200,000 for it. It has changed hands several times since then, and its value has increased substantially.

Two of the five rare coins are currently housed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and the American Numismatic Association Money Museum in Colorado Springs. The other three are owned by private collectors, including this $3 million one set for auction.


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