Bruce Morelan of Las Vegas, Nevada sold an antique silver dollar, a 19th century dime, and an early 20th century nickel with a total face value of $1.15 for $13.35 million.
Ian Russell, president of GreatCollections Coin Auctions of Irvine, California, paid a record price for the three historic rare coins.
"The 1913 Liberty Head nickels are among the most famous and coveted rarities with only five examples known. Two are permanently in museum collections including one at the Smithsonian, leaving just three for the public to own," Russell explained.
Morelan obtained the coins over the course of four years while working with Legend Numismatics dealer Laura Sperber in Lincroft, New Jersey. Professional Coin Grading Service authenticated the coins (PCGS).
"The PCGS Price Guide estimated the combined value of the 'Big Three' at $10.85 million, but I happily paid 23 percent more, $13.35 million, for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get the Holy Trinity all at one time. Each of the three coins set a new record price," stated Russell.
Only a few other collectors are known to have held copies of the 1804 dollar, 1894 San Francisco dime, and 1913 Liberty Head nickel prior to Morelan and Russell's acquisitions. They included the late Dr. Jerry Buss (1933-2013), owner of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, and the late Baltimore financier Louis E. Eliasberg Sr (1896-1976).
"These are the 'Big Three' of U.S. numismatics," said Russell. "The coins are the finest example of the five known 1913 Liberty Head nickels, a high-grade example of one of the nine known 1894-dated dimes struck at the San Francisco Mint and one of finest of the 15 known 'King of Coins,' an 1804-dated U.S. silver dollar."
GreatCollections, which was founded in 2010, has successfully auctioned over 950,000 certified coins, making it one of the top certified coin companies in the country. Total revenues are estimated to surpass $225 million this year.