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When we stumble upon a penny in the street, we tend to shrug it off, thinking that it's pointless to stop and pick it up.

But imagine if that penny were a nickel, and not just any nickel, but an extremely rare one that had been sought after by numismatics for years and was valued at $2.5 million. Ryan Givens's uncle, the famed collector George Walton, possessed such a coin, but when his estate left the nickel to Givens's mother, it ended up sitting in her closet gathering dust for nearly four decades until Givens was prodded to take a second look.

George Walton loved nothing more than collecting rare coins, and when the North Carolina dealer was killed in a car accident in 1962, his extended family inherited a princely sum.

Among the pieces was one of five Liberty Head nickels bearing the date 1913.

As the story goes, the main U.S. coin between 1883 and 1912 was the Liberty Head, which was replaced in 1913 by the Indian/Buffalo coin.

"There weren't supposed to be any 1913 Liberty Head nickels made," Givens explains, "but there was a period of time that the U.S. Mint said, 'Let's wait and see what we can do with it,'" and the Mint held onto the dies.

About five years later, a U.S. Mint employee used the dies to create five 1913 Liberty Head coins, perhaps in a shady move to trigger his own collecting craze. Givens says the Mint would contend they were never printed, but this made the coins even more desirable to collectors. When Walton lucked into the nickel in 1945, he cherished it with all his heart, taking great care to remind his family that he was sitting on a fortune. (more)

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Article by JILL KRASNEY, Main St. News | Read full article here

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