Obverse. Photo © United States Mint
  • 5 Cents 2005, KM# 368, United States of America (USA), Westward Journey, American Bison
  • 5 Cents 2005, KM# 368, United States of America (USA), Westward Journey, American Bison
Description

In commemoration of the bicentennials of the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Jefferson 5-cent coin (nickel) was modyfied to reflect images evocative of the historic expedition into the Louisiana Territory.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, was the first American expedition to cross what is now the western portion of the United States, departing in May 1804, from near St. Louis making their way westward through the continental divide to the Pacific coast.

The expedition was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson shortly after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, consisting of a select group of U.S. Army volunteers under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and his close friend, Second Lieutenant William Clark. Their perilous journey lasted from May 1804 to September 1806. The primary objective was to explore and map the newly acquired territory, find a practical route across the Western half of the continent, and establish an American presence in this territory before Britain and other European powers tried to claim it.

The campaign's secondary objectives were scientific and economic: to study the area's plants, animal life, and geography, and establish trade with local Native American tribes. With maps, sketches, and journals in hand, the expedition returned to St. Louis to report their findings to Jefferson.

Obverse

Jefferson's portret based on the marble bust of Jefferson by the French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon, completed in 1789. The design was made age-appropriate to his presidency by utilizing later paintings by Gilbert Stuart and Rembrandt Peale. The word "Liberty" appears in script on the obverse above the date, and the legend "IN GOD WE TRUST" appears along the outer edge on the right side. The word "Liberty" was taken from Jefferson's handwritten draft for the Declaration of Independence, though to achieve a capital L, Joe Fitzgerald had to obtain one from other documents written by Jefferson. The new obverse image of President Jefferson replaces the image of President Jefferson that had been on the nickel since 1938.

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.

Designer: Joe Fitzgerald (JF)
Engraver: Don Everhart (DE)

IN GOD WE TRUST
LIBERTY
D
JF DE 2005

Reverse

American bison grazing in the fields, reminiscent of the old US Buffalo Nickel coin. The American bison, recognizing the American Indians and wildlife encountered by the Lewis and Clark expedition. Expedition journals described the buffalo, and it was an animal of great significance to many American Indian cultures.

The American bison, also commonly known as the American buffalo, is a North American species of bison that once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds. They became nearly extinct by a combination of commercial hunting and slaughter in the 19th century and introduction of bovine diseases from domestic cattle, and have made a recent resurgence largely restricted to a few national parks and reserves.

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.

Designer: Jamie Franki (JNF)
Engraver: Norman E. Nemeth (NEN)

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
JNF NEN
E
PLURIBUS
UNUM
FIVE CENTS

Edge

5 Cents

Jefferson Nickel
KM# 368
Characteristics
Type Commemorative Issue (Circulating)
Material Cupronickel
Weight 5 g
Diameter 21.21 mm
Thickness 1.95 mm
Shape round
Alignment Coin
Mints
Denver Mint (D)
Philadelphia Mint (P)
San Francisco Mint (S)

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