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Coin Of the Month

Uncovering America's Heritage... Coin by Coin

2005 Ocean in View Nickel

Howdy!  I have a new coin for you this month...or rather, a new version of a current coin.  It's the fourth new nickel in the Westward Journey Nickel Series.  This one features a view of the Pacific Ocean and words that echo the joy of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  On November 7, 1805, the Expedition thought it had arrived at the ocean after almost two years of hard travel through the wilderness.

It turned out they still had 20 miles to go, but after a few miserable weeks of cold rain, they reached their goal, still in the month of November.

During warmer months, the Pacific Ocean brought traders to the coastal American Indians.  The Corps of Discovery hoped to find a trading ship that would take them back East.  But winter was not the time for sailing, and there was no ship.  The Corps quickly built winter quarters near the ocean and named the base "Fort Clatsop" after the friendly Clatsop Indians who lived in the area.

The ocean was not only a way to travel, but a source of food for the members of the party.  They ate its fish—even a whale that had been beached nearby—and removed salt from the ocean's water.  The salt could be used to flavor other foods and to keep foods from spoiling over the long winter.

And don't forget: these explorers were the first people to travel across the continent—and they had never seen the Pacific Ocean before!  I reckon the Corps of Discovery had as many reasons to enjoy seeing the Pacific Ocean as we have to enjoy seeing this lovely nickel!


Image of Ocean in View Nickel obverse. On mouseover, the former obverse.
Obverse:  The new 2005 likeness of Thomas Jefferson is based on a 1789 marble bust by the French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. The word "Liberty" is based on Jefferson's own handwriting. Place your mouse over the image to see the former design.

Image of Ocean in View Nickel reverse.
Reverse:  The design was created by Maryland artist Joe Fitzgerald as part of the United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program. Sculptor-Engraver Donna Weaver sculpted it.

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