The United States Mint sponsored a contest for the best design of the replacement for the Buffalo nickel in January 1938. Entering a competition with 390 artists, German immigrant Felix Schlag, who had only been a United States citizen for 9 years, captured an award of $1000 for his motif picturing Thomas Jefferson on the obverse and a corner view of Jefferson’s home, Monticello, on the reverse. In the final production design, the profile of Monticello was changed to a front view.

US coins normally have the initials of the designer somewhere on the coin, but Felix Schlag's initials FS were not added to the coin until 1966.

The mint mark is located on the reverse right side next to Monticello: Philadelphia (no mint mark), Denver (D) and San Francisco (S).


A left-facing bust of Thomas Jefferson, dressed in a coat of the period and wearing a peruke wig. Arranged in arcs around the border are the motto IN GOD WE TRUST to the left, with LIBERTY and the date to the right, separated by a single star.

Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American Founding Father, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and the third President of the United States (1801–1809). During his first term as President, Thomas Jefferson virtually doubled the size of the United States when his Administration successfully completed the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and commissioned the Lewis & Clark Expedition to explore the new territory.

LIBERTY ★ 1938


A front elevation view of Jefferson’s home, with the name MONTICELLO beneath it. Around the border are the legends E PLURIBUS UNUM above and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA below. Beneath MONTICELLO is the value FIVE CENTS.

Monticello was the primary plantation of Thomas Jefferson, who began designing and building Monticello at age 26 after inheriting land from his father. Located just outside Charlottesville, Virginia, in the Piedmont region, the plantation was originally 5,000 acres (20 km2). Monticello also appeared on the reverse of the two-dollar bill from 1928 to 1966, when the bill was discontinued.

E Pluribus Unum — Latin for "Out of many, one" — is a phrase on the Seal of the United States. Never codified by law, E Pluribus Unum was considered a de facto motto of the United States until 1956 when the United States Congress passed an act (H. J. Resolution 396), adopting "In God We Trust" as the official motto.



5 Cents

Jefferson Nickel
KM# 192
Material Cupronickel
Weight 5 g
Diameter 21.21 mm
Thickness 1.79 mm
Shape round
Alignment Coin
Denver Mint (D)
Philadelphia Mint (P)
San Francisco Mint (S)

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