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Jefferson design selected

For the first time ever, in 2006 a forward-facing Jefferson will grace the U.S. nickel.
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For the first time ever, in 2006 a forward-facing Jefferson will grace the U.S. nickel.

The U.S. Mint unveiled the new Jefferson image on Oct. 5.

Based on a Rembrandt Peale painting of Jefferson in 1800, the image is expected to appear on the nickel for years to come, according to a statement from the Mint.

The Mint expects to launch the 2006 nickel, called “Jefferson, 1800,” into circulation early next year. It will conclude the Westward Journey Nickel Series and comply with the law mandating the use of a Jefferson portrait and Monticello on the obverse and reverse, respectively, from 2006 onwards.

“The changing images in the Westward Journey Nickel Series lead us back to Thomas Jefferson, who envisioned the Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clark expedition as a way to move the Nation forward,” said U.S. Mint Acting Director David A. Lebryk. “The image of a forward-looking Jefferson is a fitting tribute to that vision.”

The forward-looking 2006 nickel obverse was designed by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist Jamie Franki of Concord, N.C.

The new nickel obverse will be sculpted by Mint sculptor-engraver Donna Weaver. As on the 2005 nickels, the word “Liberty” in Thomas Jefferson’s own handwriting will be inscribed on the obverse.

The reverse of the 2006 nickel will feature the return of the 1938 classic rendition of President Jefferson’s Virginia home of Monticello by Felix Schlag.

However, the reverse design, “Return to Monticello,” will include more detail. Mint sculptor-engraver John Mercanti restored the image, using Schlag’s original work. Over more than 65 years of production, the Mint had slightly modified the design for technical reasons. 

Franki’s forward-looking image of Jefferson was selected from 147 designs submitted by Mint sculptor-engravers and AIP artists from throughout the country. Franki also designed the reverse image on the 2005 American Bison nickel.

The Westward Journey Nickel Series commemorates the bicentennials of the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition. The 2004 Peace Medal nickel was the first design. It went into circulation in March 2004, and the Keelboat nickel followed in August. In 2005, the nickel’s obverse incorporated a new profile image of Thomas Jefferson on the obverse and two new designs, the American Bison and Ocean in View images, on the reverse.