Thursday, September 16, 2004
From the press release:
The revamped nickels will be issued in 2005 with a new likeness of Thomas Jefferson, the third president, who will still be on the front of the two revised coins, while the 'tails' side will also get a new look including a side-view of an American bison, grazing, and a view of the water from a rocky coastline dotted with trees with the phrase 'Ocean in view! O! The joy!' a quote from explorer William Clark's journal, a reference to the Lewis and Clark expedition's quest to reach the Pacific Ocean.
"Front" and "tails side"? Please. Obverse and reverse.
The new "buffalo" reverse is arrestingly unoriginal, but it is very evocative of a time when our coins were actually beautiful. The first view of the Pacific, however, is a wonderfully subtle tribute to American triumphalism, disguised as a numismatic monument to the natural beauty of the Pacific coastline. Very, very smooth.
This is getting mixed reviews down in Charlottesville, according to the Daily Progress:
University of Virginia students and Monticello tourists weighed in on the likeness, which is supposed to reflect Jefferson at age 60, when he dispatched Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to the West.
“It’s not neoclassical,” said Dane Wisher, a UVa third-year student. “It looks a little too modern to me.”
“It’s T.J. for the marketing age,” added his friend, senior Ted Sullivan. But out-of-towners visiting Monticello looked more generously upon the portrait. Jan Jenkins of Belgrade, Mont., noted that Jefferson’s face is more detailed and that “In God We Trust” appears bolder.
“I like this,” said Mike DiGiacomo, a visiting coin collector from California whose most prized currency is a three-legged buffalo nickel. “It’s a nice design. It’s new.”
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