Paul Montgomery, Mark Borckardt, and Ray Knight delve into a 90-year old mystery involving five of the most valuable coins in America collectively worth over 12 million dollars.
Million Dollar Nickels invites the reader to experience an outlandish business where dealers pay $10,000 for the privilege to look at a coin, and offer a million dollars to buy a nickel thought by some experts to be hidden in the collection of one of America's richest families.
Framed in the backdrop of a nation-wide media frenzy and a public mad with the hope of hitting the jackpot, Million Dollar Nickels unveils the story of America's most eccentric and famous collectors, persistent reporters searching for the truth, shameless profiteers, and agents of the Smithsonian desperate to stay above the fray.
Until now, the legacy of the 1913 Liberty nickels lay buried deep in the myth and intrigue. Years of folklore obscured the facts. Even experts disagreed over the basics: How many were minted? Who made them? When were they made? How did they manage to escape from one of the most secure places in America the United States Mint?
Enterprising dealers spared no expense over the decades advertising to purchase a 1913 Liberty nickel, prompting generations of collectors and non-collectors alike to search cans of coins, old collections they inherited, and even on the side of a desolate highway all in the mere hope of finding a prized 1913 Liberty nickel.
In the end, it was an anonymous heiress with an old envelope upon which was written the word "fake" that held the truth. With that envelope and the coin inside, six of the world's most respected coin experts sat in a small room under the vigilant watch of armed guards. Few expected what they found. And what they found rewrote numismatic history.