Monday, January 14, 2008

Coin commands serious coin: Record price for 1913 nickel shines light on one of the field's best dealers

In 1976, Laura Sperber's eyes were drawn to a 1913 "Liberty Head" nickel, one of the rarest of coins, at a New York City coin show.

"To me, that was, wow, the Holy Grail," said Sperber, now 48. "They let me hold it, and right then and there that forever changed me. It was the coolest thing and I just knew I had to be a coin dealer."

Years later, in 2003, Sperber, a partner in Legend Numismatics Inc., would buy that same coin for about $1.8 million and sell it the next year for $2.5 million. "At that point, my dreams were fulfilled."

It was just the start for one of the few women in the coin business. Sperber bought a second 1913 Liberty Head (there are only five in existence, and two are in museums) in 2005 for $4.15 million and sold it earlier this year for $5 million. At the time, it was the second-highest price ever paid for a coin, she said. . . .

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