By Lynne Adkins and Jenn Bernsteinn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Most of the coins we come across are worth one, five, or 10 cents – $1 if you’re lucky. But once in a while, a rare coin, can be worth millions.
“What we have here today, is a 1913 Liberty Head Nickle,” said the American Numismatic Association’s Museum Curator – Douglas Mudd. “This coin is insured for $5 million, it’s one of those highlights of American Numismatic Collecting.”
This special coin is on display at the ANA’s World’s Fair of Money – held this year at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
More than $1 billion of rare currency is in the room – which is heavily secured. It brings together currency dealers, collectors, and enthusiasts. What a better place to do it than this city?
“The very first mint in the United States was here in Philadelphia, in 1792,” said the U.S. Mint’s deputy director, Dick Peterson, who was also in attendance.
Another rare coin from that very year is making a homecoming here in Philadelphia. The “half disme”- which is an early spelling for dime – was struck along with 1500 others, in the cellar of a building on 5th and Cherry Street. Only about 400 of these coins are believed to exist today.
Former-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson was presented with the batch, who took them on behalf of George Washington.
“We know Thomas Jefferson handled these pieces because he took them when they were struck and he put them in his desk before they were all distributed,” said Mudd. It’s said to be the first coin authorized by President George Washington. Upon its visit back in Philadelphia, it’s insured for $25,000.
Also on display is press # 100, which was in operation during the Civil War, under Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. Convention goers can watch the print process on these historic machines. They can also watch a mutilated currency specialist piece back together cash, or folks can feast their eyes on an unthinkable amount of money, “We brought with us over $1 billion in government securities,” said Kevin Brown- who is with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing within the Department of Treasury.
Its display includes two sheets of 12 100,000 dollar bills that total $1.2 million each. These bills were only used between Federal Reserve Banks. Nowadays, transactions are done electronically. The highest bill a citizen can have is a $10,000- several dozen are on display. “Come out and see it, it’s always fun to look at a lot of money!” said Brown. There are also free informal appraisals, so folks might as well bring their own collection. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your one in a million.
Steve Halliday has been collecting for years — his dad got him started, and he now has around 40 “buffalo” nickels. Today, he was looking to add to his collection.
“(I’d like to) fill out the rest of my set. A decent grade of the coin would be nice. (I’m) pretty much looking for whatever I can get, but a lot of this is out of my price range.”
The Convention goes through Saturday afternoon. Everyone is welcome. General admission is $6, children 12 and under are free.
The World’s Fair of Money runs through Saturday at the Convention Center, 12th and Arch Streets in center city Philadelphia.