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Obverse of the nickel
Obverse of the nickel.

Reverse of the nickel
Reverse of the nickel.


Jefferson Nickel
(Five-Cent Coin)

Other Circulating Coins:
Penny  |  Dime  |   Quarter  |   Half Dollar  |   Native American $1  | Presidential $1

Current Designs

Obverse (heads): Has featured, since 2006, the Thomas Jefferson likeness based on a Rembrandt Peale portrait completed in 1800.  Peale’s portrait was the basis for most of the images of Jefferson made during his lifetime.  Inscriptions are IN GOD WE TRUST, Liberty (in cursive, based on Jefferson’s handwriting), and the year.

Reverse (tails): Features the classic rendition of Monticello originally executed by artist Felix Schlag, but with greater detail and relief added in the dome, balconies, door, and windows in 2006.


Today, we refer to the five-cent coin as a nickel, but that was not always the caseā€”the first five-cent coin was made of silver. This silver five-cent coin was called a "half disme" (pronounced "dime") and was much smaller than today’s nickel. Congress required the United States Mint to produce a new five-cent coin made of nickel and copper in 1866, but the smaller silver half disme was still made until 1873.

Jefferson took his place on the obverse of the nickel in 1938 with Monticello, his Virginia home, on the reverse.  These designs, both by Felix Schlag, were produced until 2003.  In 2004, the United States Mint began commemorating the bicentennials of the Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clark Expedition with the Westward Journey Nickel Series™. The nickel’s current design is the last of that series.

Production figures for circulating coins by denomination are updated monthly.

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