Nickel Gets New Designs in ’05
He looks good for a 262-year-old.
Actually, on two new nickels debuting this year, Thomas Jefferson is depicted as he looked in his late 50s and 60s, when he was the third U.S. president. His new likeness will mark the first change to the face of the coin in 67 years.
Jefferson’s profile is based on a marble bust that French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon finished in 1789. Jefferson took office as president in 1801, so later portraits were consulted to ensure the new likeness resembled him during his presidency. The inscription “Liberty” next to the portrait is based on Jefferson’s handwriting.
Two new nickels in 2005
The first of the two new 2005 nickels was released Feb. 28. Its reverse design features the American bison, which was described in the Lewis and Clark expedition journals and was central to many Native American cultures. Another reverse design, depicting the Pacific Ocean as viewed by pioneers in November 1805, will debut late this summer.
Celebrating the journey west
The 2005 designs are part of the Westward Journey Nickel Series, begun by the U.S. Mint in 2004, commemorating the bicentennials of two major achievements of Jefferson’s presidency—the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition.
In 2006 the nickel will revert to its previous appearance, with Jefferson’s portrait on the head, or obverse, and Monticello on the reverse.