WASHINGTON — The nickel will soon have a new look. President Bush has signed an historic bill that authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to change the designs of 5 — cent coins issued in 2003, 2004 and 2005 in recognition of the bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition. The design of the nickel has remained unchanged since 1938. In 2006, the nickel will return to a depiction of President Thomas Jefferson on the “heads” side and an image of Jefferson’s home, Monticello, on the “tails” side.
“It is a new century, and the United States is in a renaissance of coin design,” said United States Mint Director Henrietta Holsman Fore. “This is a very historic moment. It marks the first time in 65 years that Americans will reach into their pockets and pull out newly designed nickels.”
Most Americans have not seen a nickel different from the current one, introduced in 1938, which features President Jefferson on the “heads” side and his home, Monticello, on the “tails” side. Many Americans and coin collectors have fond memories of a great American classic, the Buffalo nickel. Images emblematic of the bicentennials of the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition will be the subjects depicted on the “tails” side of the new nickels. The “heads” side will continue to bear images of President Jefferson in recognition of his role in the Louisiana Purchase and the commissioning of the Lewis and Clark expedition.
“More than 130 million Americans are collecting coins in the United States Mint’s 50 State Quarters Program. I expect these new nickels will encourage even more interest in coin collecting,” added Director Fore. “Through these coins, Americans of all ages are learning about the geography, the history and the values of our great Nation. Now we will have new designs on the nickel commemorating the Lewis and Clark expedition and the Louisiana Purchase. Think about the discussions families will have around the dinner table!”
The “American 5–Cent Coin Design Continuity Act of 2003” was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on January 7, 2003 and became law on April 23, 2003. The Act establishes the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the CCAC and the Commission of Fine Arts to modify the obverse (heads) and reverse (tails) designs of the 5–cent coin. The Act abolishes the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee. The Mint is moving quickly in hopes of producing a redesigned nickel in late 2003 or early 2004.
Additional information concerning nickel redesign may be obtained by visiting the United States Mint’s website at http://www.usmint.gov.