Coin collectors from across the United States are gathering at the Phoenix Convention Center this weekend for the 2008 National Money Show.
“It is a busy weekend for the American Numismatic Association as it holds its first money show in Phoenix since 1950,” event spokesman Donn Pearlman said.
A rare 1913 Liberty Head nickel worth $3 million is on display for the first time in Arizona. The coin was “lost” for 41 years until it was discovered in a Virginia closet in 2003.
“There were only five 1913 Liberty nickels mysteriously made at a Philadelphia mint,” Pearlman said.
Pearlman said two of the nickels are in private hands, one is on display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., one is owned by the American Numismatic Association and the fifth is on display at the National Money Show.
That coin is owned by the family of George Walton, the original owner from Virginia.
Among the many collectors showcasing their coins was John Carroll of Mesa Coin Club. He said he started his collection more than 50 years ago in Ohio.
“The first coin collection I ever bought was a collection of Indian Head pennies,” Carroll said. “I bought it for about $800, and if I hadn’t sold it many years ago, it would probably be worth $15,000 to $20,000 today.”
Larry Winse, a Belmont resident near Flagstaff, traded his Key Date Indian Head penny for a gold coin worth $500 from B W Coins in Chandler.
“I have been a coin collector since I was 10 years old, and every coin I own is special to me,” Winse said. “It was hard to let go of my Indian Head penny, but I have thousands of coins in my collection, and this gold coin could be worth $1,000 in a few years.”
Not all visitors, however, go to the show to trade and collect coins.
Some people come to view the Bureau of Engraving and Printing exhibit held by the Department of the Treasury. Children are able to master their own engraving skills with the help of Christopher Madden, who engraved the back of the new $10 bill.
The first appearance in Arizona of the new $5 bill was on display, along with two sheets of $100,000 bills.
The $5 bill goes into circulation on March 13.