- The Washington Times - Monday, September 13, 2004


Thomas Jefferson is getting a makeover, the first since his face was put on the nickel in 1938.

It is the latest in a series of design changes for the coins.

Designs for two new nickels will be revealed Thursday by the U.S. Mint, where the nation’s coins are made. The revamped nickels will be issued next year.

A new portrait of Jefferson, the third president, will be on the front of the two new coins. Each coin also will have a change on the back, “with one of the designs harking back to a favorite coin of the American people,” the Mint said. The announcement gave no further details.

The two new nickels are part of a broader redesign, authorized by Congress last year, honoring the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

It’s called the Westward Journey nickel series.

In March, the so-called Peace Medal 5-cent piece went into circulation. That was followed by the Keelboat nickel in August. Those were the first two nickels issued under the new series.

Those nickels, however, kept the current image of Jefferson on the front, while featuring new designs on the back.

The design of the old nickels — a profile of Jefferson on the front and his Virginia home, Monticello, on the back — was introduced in 1938.

The back of the Peace Medal nickel features an image of hands clasped in friendship, one with a military cuff to symbolize the U.S. government, the other with an ornate bracelet to represent American Indians. Above the clasped hands is a tomahawk crossed by a peace pipe.

The images are similar to those on Jefferson Peace Medals, which were presented ceremonially to Indian chiefs and other important leaders.

The Keelboat nickel shows an angled view of the keelboat in which the Lewis and Clark Expedition traveled the rivers of the Louisiana territory searching for a northwest passage to the Pacific Ocean. Explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark are in full uniform in the bow of the boat.

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