Newscaster flips 1913 Liberty nickel on air

Thank goodness for "Cointains."

Mark Concannon, a Milwaukee television anchorman, unexpectedly flipped the Bebee/McDermott specimen 1913 Liberty Head nickel during a live interview segment on WITI-TV's Fox 6 Wake Up News program on Wednesday morning, August 8. (Yes, he'd been politely informed before we went on the air that the "props" for the interview could be handled, but with care.....)

Dawn Haley, Director of External Affairs for the U.S. Treasury Department's Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and I were the interview guests on the segment to promote the opening of the ANA World's Fair of Money. She brought along a few eye-opening items from the BEP's popular Billion Dollar Display including Series 1934 Gold Certificate $100,000 notes and a $500 million Treasury Bond. With the gracious permission of the ANA and the assistance of ANA Money Museum Curator, Douglas Mudd, I had the Bebee/McDermott 1913 nickel which is making its "homecoming" appearance in Milwaukee for the first time in 40 years. Here's a photo of us (shot by the BEP's Karen Smith) on the studio set:

Click here for photo of Dawn Haley, Donn Pearlman and Milwaukee newscaster Mark Concannon

During the interview, newscaster Concannon picked up the nickel and flipped it in the air. Fortunately, it's in a Cointain protective holder, and fortunately, Concannon caught it. A similiar situation occured with me in the late 1990's when I was on KTLA-TV in Los Angeles with Greg Roberts to show an 1894-S dime that was going on display at the Long Beach Expo. Comedian Bill Cosby was also on the set. During the live interview, the Cos came over to look at the coin (it was in a PCGS holder), took a dime from his pocket, put it on the table, picked up the '94-S and began doing a "Fat Albert" walk off the set with the '94-S. It was very funny, and after the segment he graciously posed for a photo holding the coin (which was safely returned to Roberts.)

You can see a video clip of the Milwaukee coin flip. I don't know how long this video will remain online on the WITI-TV web site, but here's a link to a recording of the Fox 6 Wake Up News television interview segment where the 1913 Liberty nickel goes for an unexpected flip:

Fox 6 Wake Up News: World's Fair of Money segment, August 8, 2007

Newscaster Concannon was enthusiastic about coin collecting and genuinely interested in the items Haley and I brought for "show 'n' tell." It was a great promotion for the ANA convention. As a numismatist, I was briefly stunned by the coin flip. As a 30-year broadcaster (before turning to The Dark Side of the Force, PR), I knew it was "good television." But I hope that this was a TV first that has no sequel....

"If it happens in numismatics, it's news to me...."


  • CladiatorCladiator Posts: 18,095 ✭✭
    What a jack a$$!
  • SpaceMonkeySpaceMonkey Posts: 3,354
    HOLY SHNIKES!!! OMG! THAT WAS FRIGGIN CRAZY! I was having heart palpitations just watching... INSANE! should have never let that bone head handle that coin!

    wow wow wow is all one can say... thanks for sharing that... i will be having nightmares tonight! image


  • tightbudgettightbudget Posts: 7,409
    What a motherfocker...even in a Cointain, that'd be a bad idea, especially if he didn't catch it.
  • He was very excited but I cannot imagine doing something like that with that coin, or anything worth that much money. Great story about Bill Cosby.
  • HalfsenseHalfsense Posts: 588
    "Fortunately," the BeBee/McDermott specimen has "circulation" wear from the days that Mac McDermott carried it in his pocket to frequently surprise strangers. However, I don't think there are any rim nicks on the coin -- and I don't want any to appear when I have temporary custody of it.

    I've been doing coin and bank note show 'n' tell interviews with the news media for decades, and this is the first time anything like this ever happened. As I said in my earlier post, in retrospect this was "good television," and I'm sure over the next several days here in Milwaukee we'll have a number of visitors who come to the show just to see the "$3 million dollar nickel the guy flipped on TV...."

    Back in 1993 during a live TV segment in Colorado Springs, Colorado, I was holding one corner of a 12-note sheet of the $100,000 bills and the TV interviewer carefully had the other corner as he asked me, "What are we holding?" I replied: "You're holding $1.2 million." Honest to goodness, the guy dropped the corner he was holding. He had no idea about the value of the notes until we were live on the air, and he obviously was stunned. Luckily, I had a good grip on my corner of the 12-note sheet, so it didn't drop and I quickly got hold of the other corner to continue displaying it on the air.

    "If it happens in numismatics, it's news to me...."
  • SpaceMonkeySpaceMonkey Posts: 3,354
    BTW... what is the actual monetary value of those 100,000 bills? are they still legal tender?

    Oh, and also I have several snaps of the movie clip in case it disappears! so if anybody misses it let me know


  • MidLifeCrisisMidLifeCrisis Posts: 10,008 ✭✭✭
    All I can say image
  • HalfsenseHalfsense Posts: 588
    The $100,000 notes in the BEP exhibit are "specimen" notes. They are still considered by Treasury to have a face value of $100,000 each. That's why they're always accompanied by armed, well-trained Treasury security agents.

    Over the years I've asked a number of well-known dealers what they think one of those notes would bring if it came on the market. Remember that the $100,000 notes were not intended for release to the public, only to be used between banks (especially, the Fed) in the days prior to electronic funds transfers. Every one of the dealers I asked indicated that if one of the notes were made available it would surely bring $1 million or more.

    I'm privileged and fortunate that the nice folks at BEP let me participate with these historic notes and other "goodies" in their educational exhibits.

    "If it happens in numismatics, it's news to me...."
  • CgbCgb Posts: 1,365
    I can only describe that guy as a jackass. 'What do you call it 'Numismatism?'.

    He seems to me like a pretentious jerk with no respect for the hobby.

    I hope that coin was at least in an airtight plastic holder before they handed it to him. Did he hold it in his hand after he flipped it?

    That video made me angry, sorry about my fuming image image
  • jepoyjepoy Posts: 50
    imagemy heart jumped when he flipped the coin....
  • clarkbar04clarkbar04 Posts: 2,824 ✭✭✭
    I have the perfect snapshot of when mr. happy fingers flipped the multi-million dollar nickel, but unfortunately photobucket is down right now for maintenance.....
    MS66 taste on an MS63 budget.
    Just goes to show you,not everybody is a coin expert and not everybody knows the value of some coins. UMMM!image
  • etexmikeetexmike Posts: 6,872 ✭✭✭
    All I can say about Mr. Concannon is image

    or at least not very smart about the coin and its value.


  • thebeavthebeav Posts: 1,454 ✭✭✭
    Great story !!
  • SteveSteve Posts: 3,275 ✭✭✭
    Funny, but I have a different take on this. I think the newscaster acted like any non numismatist might act when holding something that is said to be worth $3 million dollars. Nobody told him he needed to be careful not to drop the coin. I'm sure he felt comfortable that the coin would not "break" if it fell to the floor. Sometimes we have to understand how non coin collectors think.

    I also want to thank Donn for linking the broadcast so we could see the program. What a wonderful era we live in. Not only can people tell us about events in the hobby that we are interested in, we can actually hear and see them via the internet. I truly enjoyed it. Steveimage
  • BarryBarry Posts: 10,336
    Guess he figured if it wasn't slabbed, it couldn't really be a valuable coin...
  • lkrarecoinslkrarecoins Posts: 2,166
    he's probably would have started cleaning it with Brillo, if he had it in his hands long enough...geesh!!! image
    In Loving Memory of my Dad......My best friend, My inspiration, and My Coin Collecting Partner

    "La Vostra Nonna Ha Faccia Del Fungo"
  • 2ndCharter2ndCharter Posts: 3,847 ✭✭
    Sorry Donn, I've got you beat. That's me holding the sheet at the Memphis International Paper Money Show back in June of 1992. I just walked up to the BEP table and asked if I could hold the sheet while a friend took a picture. The BEP employee then just pulled the sheet out of the case and handed it to me. Obviously, they were a bit less concerned with security fifteen years ago....

  • clarkbar04clarkbar04 Posts: 2,824 ✭✭✭
    Just look at their expressions:

    MS66 taste on an MS63 budget.
  • PentimentoPentimento Posts: 1,389
    I wish I had a way to save that video. I tried every way I know how. I hope someone else can capture/Youtube it... The Slurpee joke, the coin toss... the whole thing is fantastic!
  • 1907Quarter1907Quarter Posts: 3,804
    everything Space Monkey says!
    USPI minimalist design collage
    Treasury Seals Type Set
  • RussRuss Posts: 50,068
    If I were in that room I think I might have had a heart attack.

    Russ, NCNE
  • tradedollarnuttradedollarnut Posts: 17,097 ✭✭✭
    Somewhere, Mr McDermott just smiled... image
  • SpaceMonkeySpaceMonkey Posts: 3,354
    anyone need a new sig line?? image

  • TwoSides2aCoinTwoSides2aCoin Posts: 37,084 ✭✭✭
    Well image

    They don't teach journalism/broadcasting students how to flip a nickel. You need a real trade dollar nut to do that properly.
    See Spot run... just for fun !
  • theumptheump Posts: 763
    One would think the sheets of currency and the coin would be in more secure type holders.

    I also believe that women is incorrect, there are no $100k bonds in private hands as someone else said, they were only used by governmental departments only.
  • BochimanBochiman Posts: 23,717 ✭✭✭
    I hope someone told him he was a stupid fool and asked him if he was willing to pay millions if it was damaged should his ignorance and stupidity had caused any damage to the coin.....

    (and, I don't even like the 1913 lib nickels....I just dislike stupid people less than that image )

    I've been told I tolerate fools poorly...that may explain things if I have a problem with you. Current ebay items - Nothing at the moment

  • Never teach a pig to sing. You'll waste your time and annoy the pig image

  • NonCentsNonCents Posts: 80

    "I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow."
    Woodrow Wilson (1856 - 1924)
  • 777777 Posts: 1,079
    He would not have been laughing for long if the coin hit the floor and disappeared. image
  • gyocomgdgyocomgd Posts: 3,230 ✭✭✭
    Handing over that coin to somebody who knows nothing about numismatics was like handing it over to small child. The guy just didn't know any better and you couldn't expect him to. If something had happened to that nickel, they really would have no one to blame but themselves.
  • Numismatic News repoted the anchorman had been told to hangle them with care:

    "he'd been politely informed before we went on the air that the "props" for the interview could be handled, but with care....."
    Never teach a pig to sing. You'll waste your time and annoy the pig image

  • lordmarcovanlordmarcovan Posts: 41,440 ✭✭✭
    Great sigline, especially FBH's video version! image
  • MrEurekaMrEureka Posts: 20,057 ✭✭✭
    That was hilarious! Donn, thanks for posting this!
    Andy Lustig

    Doggedly collecting coins of the Central American Republic……………………...Visit the Society of US Pattern Collectors at

  • HalfsenseHalfsense Posts: 588
    Thanks, Andy. Aside from this coin flipping incident, I guess nothing else of significance occured during the convention......

    "If it happens in numismatics, it's news to me...."
  • IGWTIGWT Posts: 5,057

    << <i>Aside from this coin flipping incident, I guess nothing else of significance occured during the convention......

    -donn- >>

    Any interesting no-sales to talk about? image
  • lloydmincylloydmincy Posts: 1,894
    The Accumulator - Dark Lloyd of the Sith

  • ShamikaShamika Posts: 18,412 ✭✭✭
    Gesh! I suspect he knew exactly what he was doing. image

    Buyer and seller of vintage coin boards!

  • 57loaded57loaded Posts: 5,007

    << <i>image

    Link to video mirror >>

    I'm surprised it too THAT long for you to chime in?


    Now I know what the heck it is....KEEP IT !!! (you know what I mean)


  • coinkatcoinkat Posts: 17,897 ✭✭✭
    I think this thread illustrates that I have lost my sense of humor.
Sign In or Register to comment.