ORLANDO, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The world's most famous rare coin, the Walton 1913 Liberty Head nickel that was recovered from a car crash and has an estimated value today of $2.5 million or more, now has been formally authenticated, graded and certified by Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com), a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT).
PCGS brought together in Florida the same experts who first authenticated the previously "missing" coin for Collectors Universe in Maryland in 2003. The coin now is certified as PCGS Secure Proof 63 (on the PCGS numismatic grading scale of 1 to 70).
The famous coin was recently submitted to PCGS by Heritage Auctions (www.HA.com) on behalf of George O. Walton's heirs, who consigned it for an auction to be conducted by Heritage at the Central States Numismatic Society convention in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Illinois on April 25, 2013.
"The acclaimed Walton 1913 Liberty nickel is the world's most publicized rare coin, with national and international headlines from its surprise appearance on July 29, 2003 after being 'lost' for four decades. It has generated many subsequent stories wherever it's been publicly exhibited ever since," said Don Willis, President of PCGS.
"An initial examination and evaluation of the coin was performed by PCGS authenticators and graders at PCGS headquarters in California on January 3, 2013, and then on January 11, five of the six members of the same team of experts from 2003 reconvened to closely examine it at the Florida United Numismatists convention in Orlando, Florida. At the request of Walton's heirs, we have issued a PCGS Certificate of Authenticity to accompany the coin, which remains in Walton's custom-made holder that has housed it since the 1950s."
Willis added: "The PCGS brand guarantees authenticity, maximizes value and increases liquidity."
The five authenticators from 2003 who re-examined the Walton nickel in Florida were Heritage Senior Numismatist Mark Borckardt, PCGS Board of Experts member; dealer and author John "JD" Dannreuther; numismatic author and dealer Jeff Garrett; Professional Coin Grading Service Co-Founder and Collectors Universe President David Hall; and numismatic author and dealer Fred Weinberg. The sixth member of the 2003 team, American Precious Metals Exchange Executive Vice President and consultant to the coin's owners Paul Montgomery, was unable to attend the January 11 meeting but examined the coin two days earlier.
"The search for and subsequent authentication of the Walton 1913 Liberty nickel in 2003 was one of the highlights of my career," said Hall.
"It is the most famous U.S. coin, and to be in the same room with all five of the known specimens and a team of experts to authenticate what was the thought to be missing specimen was a thrill beyond words. What an honor it is for PCGS to now re-authenticate and issue an official grade for this great rarity."
One of only five known 1913 Liberty Head nickels, this coin vanished from the hobby in 1962 when its owner, George O. Walton of North Carolina, was killed in a car crash while driving to a coin show. The nickel, still inside the custom-made holder, was recovered from the crash site, but the coin later was mistakenly declared to be a fake.
Walton's sister, Melva Givens of Salem, Virginia, inherited the coin and kept it in a closet of her home. It remained there for 41 years until two of her children responded in 2003 to a national search and reward offered by Collectors Universe to find the coin. The heirs brought it that year to the American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money in Baltimore, where it was authenticated in a secret midnight meeting by the team of six experts, who closely compared Walton's coin to the other four known genuine 1913 Liberty nickels that were going on public display the next morning.
The family loaned the nickel to the ANA Money Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where it was displayed the past nine years and also exhibited at ANA conventions across the country.
Additional information about 1913 Liberty Head nickels and thousands of other coins is available online at www.PCGSCoinFacts.com, the Internet's most comprehensive resource for information and illustrations of U.S. coins, from Colonial-era issues to modern coins.
For additional information about PCGS and its services, including PCGS CoinFacts, visit www.PCGS.com or call PCGS Customer Service at (800) 447-8848.
For additional information about the upcoming auction of the Walton nickel, contact Heritage Auctions at (800) 872-6467 or visit online at www.HA.com.