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Rare Nickel: $3.1M auction price for century-old nickel

The 1913 Liberty Head nickel is one of only five known to exist. But it's the coin's back story that adds to its cachet.

Patrick Kunzer/Daily Herald/AP
This 1913 Liberty Head Nickel - one of only five known to exist - was auctioned April 25, night during the Central States Numismatic Society show at the Schaumburg Convention Center in Schaumburg, Ill. for $3,172,500.

A rare century-old U.S. nickel that was once mistakenly declared a fake has sold at auction for more than $3.1 million.

The 1913 Liberty Head nickel is one of only five known to exist. But it's the coin's back story that adds to its cachet: It was surreptitiously and illegally cast, discovered in a car wreck that killed its owner, declared a fake, forgotten in a closet for decades then declared the real deal.

It was offered for sale by four Virginia siblings at a rare coin and currency auction in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg on Thursday, and sold for well over the expected $2.5 million.

The winning bidders were two men from Lexington, Kentucky and Panama City, Florida, who bought the coin in partnership.

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