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Coin Of the Month

Uncovering America's Heritage... Coin by Coin

2004 Keelboat Nickel

I'm Flip, and I'm excited:  Another new nickel in less than a year!  This new design, which came out in August, is the coin I picked for September's coin of the month.  Have you come across one yet?

Still on the front of this new nickel is the head of our third president, Thomas Jefferson.  We learned in April that this design was created by Felix Schlag, a sculptor.  The sculpture he entered in the 1938 coin design contest was chosen over the other 400 entries.

What's new is the image on the back of the nickel, an image of the keelboat that Lewis, Clark, and their Corps of Discovery used to begin their dangerous trip to the Pacific Ocean.  In the nickel's design, you can see the boat and some of the Corps on board in 1804.

Traveling up river without a motor was hard, but the keelboat could be moved in several ways.  It could be rowed, sailed if the wind was right, pulled using ropes from the shores, or pushed with poles from on deck.

September also marked the end of the journey in 1806. That's when the explorers stopped writing in the journals they used to record the whole adventure.

Image Jefferson nickel obverse
Obverse:  Felix Schlag's picture of Thomas Jefferson is still on the front where it has remained for more than 65 years.

Image: newest 2004 nickel reverse
Reverse:  Sculptor-Engraver Al Maletsky has depicted Lewis, Clark, and crew aboard the 55-foot keelboat that Captain Lewis designed.

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