Did You Know? New Nickels to Debut in Late 2003
Starting this year, the nickel will get its first redesign in 65 years. President Bush recently signed a bill authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to change the designs of five-cent coins issued in 2003, 2004 and 2005 in recognition of the bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition.
The U.S. Mint hopes to produce a redesigned nickel the first one since 1938 in late 2003 or early 2004. The heads side will continue to bear images of President Thomas Jefferson in recognition of his role in the Louisiana Purchase and the commissioning of the Lewis and Clark expedition. In 2006 the nickel will return to a depiction of Jefferson on the heads side and his home, Monticello, on the tails side.
In 1803, Jefferson and Frances Napoleon Bonaparte negotiated the United States purchase from France of the Louisiana Territory more than 800,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River, stretching from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Approved by treaty in April 1803, the deal cost the United States $15 million about four cents an acre. The land would eventually be divided into all or part of 15 states: Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma and Montana.
Also in 1803, Jefferson commissioned Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to lead an exploration of what would become the western United States.
Image courtesy of U.S. Archives
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