The 2006 Westward Journey Nickel Series™ Designs
In commemoration of the bicentennials of the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition, the President enacted Public Law 108-15 to modify the Jefferson 5-cent coin (nickel) to reflect images evocative of the historic expedition into the Louisiana Territory. The United States Mint began the Westward Journey Nickel Series™ in 2004 with the release of the "Peace Medal" and "Keelboat" nickels. In 2005, the "President Jefferson with Handwritten Liberty" image appeared on the obverse with two new designs on the reverse: "American Bison" and "Ocean in view! O! The joy!" In 2006 the obverse features the "Jefferson, 1800" image and the reverse features "Return to Monticello".
2006 Obverse Design: Jefferson, 1800
The obverse of the 2006 nickel depicts a portrait of Thomas Jefferson completed during 1800.
The United States Mint's Artistic Infusion Program Master Designer Jamie Franki of Concord, North Carolina, designed the obverse, using as his inspiration the first Rembrandt Peale life study of Jefferson, done in 1800.
Depicting Jefferson as Vice President at 57 years of age, just before becoming President, this Peale portrait had a significant iconographic role during Jefferson's lifetime; it was frequently used as a reference to create most of the images by which Jefferson's contemporaries came to know him.
The cursive "Liberty" inscription, which debuted on the 2005 nickels, is again presented in Jefferson's own handwriting.
The obverse was engraved by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Donna Weaver.
2006 Reverse Design: "Monticello"
The reverse of the 2006 nickel features the classic, familiar rendition of Monticello, President Thomas Jefferson's Virginia home, originally executed by artist Felix Schlag and first chosen to adorn the coin's reverse in 1938.
However, the 2006 reverse design is crisper and more detailed than Americans have seen it in recent years, having been carefully restored by the United States Mint, guided by Schlag's original work. Among the changes made are:
Jefferson designed Monticello himself, and construction began in 1768 when he was 25 years old. It was completed in 1823 when the former President and founding father was in his eightieth year. A skilled horticulturalist, Jefferson also planned the smallest details of the landscaping at Monticello.