Fun Facts

The President got the first Jefferson nickel.... The coin, issued on November 6, 1938, was presented to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
A medal was the model for a nickel.... The Peace Medal design on the back of the first nickel of 2004 is based on the back of the Peace Medal made for President Jefferson in 1801 by John Reich.
One design used to be anonymous.... When it first came out in 1938, the Jefferson nickel was the only circulating coin that did not carry the initials of the artist. That was changed in 1966, when Felix Schlag's initials were added.
There’s still nickel in the nickel.... The 2006 five-cent coin is the same weight and metal alloy as when it was first made in 1866 (except when its nickel was replaced during World War II). Although its design has changed (Shield, Liberty Head, Indian Head/Buffalo, and Jefferson types), the nickel is the circulating coin whose weight and composition have stayed the same for the longest time.
Inside and out, our change has changed!... Not only have our coin designs changed over the years, but our coin materials have changed too. The first coins were made of either gold, silver, or copper. In today's circulating coins, copper is the only one of the metals still used, and in very small amounts. We also use nickel and zinc.
Once it was hard to tell a penny from a dime... Although they are different colors, pennies and dimes are very close in size. In 1943, copper was needed for war materials, so pennies were made out of zinc-coated steel. Because the color was silvery, it was easy to mistake a penny for a dime. Fortunately, pennies were only made that way for one year.
A minister first put in his two cents... The first recorded person (of many) who saw that a religious saying deserved to be on our coins was a Reverend Watson of Pennsylvania. He wrote to the Secretary of the Treasury about it, and soon the motto "In God we trust" appeared on our two-cent coins. We no longer use two-cent coins, but we do use the faithful phrase on all the rest of our coins, as well as our paper money.
Our first commemorative coins were first seen at a World’s Fair... 1892 was the 400th anniversary of Columbus discovering America. To celebrate, Congress provided money for a world's fair. Chicago hosted the "Columbian Exposition," as it was called, and two special coins were created for the event. The half dollar coin featured a bust of the explorer and sold at the fair for one dollar. The quarter dollar showed Queen Isabella of Spain, who financed the trip.
There was a lot of horsing around at the early Mint... We often rate the power of engines by "horsepower," but in the early Mint, the power came from real horses! Yes, harnessed horses were one way the machines got the energy to make coins.
We would be eating the national bird!... If Ben Franklin had had his way, the turkey would be our national bird. Maybe then the $2.50 gold coin called the "quarter eagle" would be called the "quarter turkey." Sounds more like a menu item, doesn't it? And if the astronaut who landed on the moon had said "The turkey has landed," just wouldn't be the same.