LNCS's Blog

10 Jul 2019

1913 Counterfeit Liberty Nickels

Coins | LNCS

There has been many cases where someone has "discovered" an unknown 1913 Liberty Nickel and wants to know how much it is worth. While it is possible that another exits, it is highly unlikely. Due to the advertising of B. Max Mehl, people have been looking for this coin for nearly 80 years.

On this, Walter Breen writes in his Encyclopedia:

"During the Great Depression, the Fort Worth, Tex., dealer B. Max Mehl carried on a years-long newspaper advertising campaign (which he later admitted had cost him over a million 1930s dollars!), offering to buy for $50 apiece any 1913 Liberty head nickels offered. This offer was not bona fide, being merely a come-on to promote sales of his Star Rare Coin Encyclopedia, which went through over 30 editions despite being of no numismatic value. The major effect of Mehl's publicity was threefold: It made Mehl very wealthy through peddling his worthless book; it made the 1913 Liberty head nickel one of the most famous of American coins; and it stimulated the ungodly to make thousands of altered dates (mostly from 1903, 1910 or 1912) pretending to be 1913's."

Here is the text of one such ad from 1931
OLD MONEY WANTED - WILL PAY $100.00 for 1894 Dime, S. Mint., $50.00 for 1913 Liberty Head Nickel (no Buffalo). Big premiums paid for all rare coins. Send 4c for Large Coin Folder. May mean much profit to you. Numismatic Co., Dept. 194, Ft. Worth, Tex.

As a result, many fakes have been made over the years. I would like to point out 3 types of these that I have multiple copies of.

The first would be an altered date, as noted above. Taking a genuine Liberty Nickel, usually dated 1903, 1910 or 1912. The date would be modified into a 1913.

The second would be a cast counterfeit. A coin that was made by pouring melted metal into a mold or cast. Not made by striking a die against a coin blank like most coins. These are usually very crude, not of the standard coin composition and easily identified.

The last is a die struck counterfeit. This is a case where dies are created and actually strike coins. These are very common now, coming from China. You can purchase these for around $10.

I have attached an image of each of these, as holdered in ICG Educational holders.



Level 6

Great blog...Really an eye opener for sure! It's crazy how far crooks will go to make a buck and deceive good people.


Level 4

Nice & informative blog. Thank you for the info.


Level 6

Very nice blog. Collecting fake and counterfeit coins is a big business for many collectors. Thanks for these examples..

People will always try to cheat..... Great examples, thanks


Level 5

Thanks for sharing. I don't think I have ever seen a fake 1913 nickel.

It’s so crazy what people will do for others’ money. As a Numismatist it hurts to hear about these things.

Just Mokie

Level 5

Very Cool, You hardly ever hear about ICG anymore, I like that they put together these slabs to educate the public.

Mike B

Level 6

Thanks for the advice and information. This is only further proof what people.will do to make it or take our money. It doesn't matter what coin or when it was made. It's a black eye on our hobby. Thanks for writing this. . Much appreciated. Pat


Level 5

Interesting blog. Amazing the details people go to , to deceive people.

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