The U.S. Mint made four new nickel designs in 2004 and 2005 as part of the Westward Journey Nickel Series. These special nickels celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. It was the first time the nickel design changed in 66 years.
The four nickels included two different images of Thomas Jefferson on the obverse (heads) side paired with four different reverse (tails) designs.
When Thomas Jefferson was president, he bought a piece of land from France called “Louisiana.” This land was much larger than the state of Louisiana today…so large, in fact, that buying it made the United States twice as large as it had been before.
In 1804, President Jefferson sent a group led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore this land. They made it all the way to the Pacific Ocean and back.
Learn more about these nickels on the Westward Journey Nickel Series page on the U.S. Mint website.