msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 1/9/2010 11:24:54 AM ET 2010-01-09T16:24:54

A rare 1913 U.S. Liberty Head nickel that was featured in a 1973 episode of the television series "Hawaii Five-O" has been sold for $3.7 million at a public auction.

The coin sold Thursday, known as the Olsen-Hawn piece, is one of only five 1913 Liberty Head nickels known to exist. It was purchased by "a sophisticated East Coast collector," said Todd Imhof, executive vice president of Heritage Auction Galleries, which conducted the auction in Orlando.

The names of the buyer and seller were not released. Previous owners of the coin have included Egypt's King Farouk and Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss.

The coin was featured in a "Hawaii Five-O" episode that aired in 1973. Heritage Auction Galleries said the original coin was seen only in close-ups. For other scenes, the coin had a "stunt double."

In the episode, Victor Buono played a thief who used a sleight-of-hand trick to steal the 1913 nickel from a coin auction at the Ilikai Hotel, according to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. The thief drops the coin into a vending machine, but the money from the machine is collected before he can retrieve it.

Buss paid $200,000 for the coin in 1978, and it has changed hands several times since then, crossing the million-dollar mark in 2003, according to Antique Trader Blog.

Two of the five 1913 Liberty nickels are in museums. The three others are privately owned by collections.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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