Big Change- March 3, 2004
Congressman Gary G. Miller
42nd District, California
Nickel Gets Big Change
Millions of shiny nickels sporting their first new look in 66 years will begin appearing in cash registers across the country over the next couple of weeks. The temporary design supported by Congressman Miller and approved by Congress last year will honor the 1803 Louisiana Purchase.
The new commemorative themed nickels, part of the Mint's new Westward Journey Nickel Series, replace the image of Jefferson's home, Monticello, now on the back of the coins. The current design was introduced in 1938.
The back of the new nickels now headed into circulation bear the words "United States of America," "Louisiana Purchase" and "1803." There is an image of hands clasped in friendship - one with a military cuff to symbolize the U.S. government, and the other with an ornate bracelet to represent American Indians.
Above the clasped hands is a tomahawk crossed by a peace pipe. The images are similar to those on Jefferson Peace Medals, which were presented ceremonially to Indian chiefs and other important leaders. Below the clasped hands are the Latin words "E Pluribus Unum" (meaning "Out of many, one"), and hugging the bottom of the coin is the denomination: "Five Cents."
The new nickel has already received the nickname "the peace pipe nickel."
Approximately 900 million of this nickel have been made, up from an initial estimate of 500 million, reflecting an improved economic climate which typically increases demand for coins.
The front of the two new nickels debuting this year remains the same, featuring, among other things, the visage of Jefferson and the words "In God We Trust." But a third version of the nickel to be released in 2005 may portray a different image of Jefferson.
Vending machines will be able to accept the new nickels because their composition- 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel- and their size remains the same.
New nickels honoring the 1803 Louisiana Purchase were introduced by the U.S. Mint in Washington, Thursday, March 4, 2004, the first makeover for the five-cent piece in 66 years. While the front looks the same, retaining the image of Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, the back of the new nickels now headed into circulation bear the words 'United States of America,' 'Louisiana Purchase' and '1803.' There is an image of hands clasped in friendship -- one with a military cuff to symbolize the U.S. government, and the other with an ornate bracelet to represent American Indians.
Brotherhood Hand Shake: