The mark-up on a single nickel auctioned off Thursday night at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center turned out to be huge.
The rare 1913 Liberty Head nickel -- one of only five in existence -- was auctioned off for $2.7 million to a Kentucky collector. With the Heritage Auctions commission, the collector must shell out $3.1 million. (That's 62 million normal nickels.)
Jeff Garrett of Lexington, Ky., is that collector. He bought the coin from Ryan Givens of Roanoke, Va.
The nickel was the big money of the Central States Numismatic Society show at the convention center. The show runs through Saturday.
The extremely rare 1913 Liberty Head nickel is also called the lost nickel, ABC 7 reported. Only five of the coins were minted in Philadelphia 100 years ago.
"What makes this special is it has the old style design on the coin. In 1913 we switched over to the now famous buffalo design," Todd Imhof, executive vice president of Heritage Auctions, told ABC 7.
In 1945 a Virginia man named George Walton bought one of the coins, ABC 7 reported. He, however, was killed in a car crash on his way to a rare coin show. His collection was scattered all over the highway.
"The police at the time gathered up as many of the coins as they could. All the coins and this coin included. They returned them to his widow and there they remained along with this one special coin for many years," Imhof said.
The Walton family was told by one so-called expert that the coin was not authentic, so it was stored in an unlocked drawer in an unlocked closet for more than 40 years. But then in 2003 they had the coin appraised again, and this time it was the real thing.