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This article covers the Westward Journey nickels.
Then, I will go over the value of Jefferson, Buffalo, Liberty, and Shield nickels later.
What Is A Westward Journey Nickel?
The Westward Journey nickels were made from 2004 to 2006 to commemorate the bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clark’s journey exploring that vast territory.
If you have a nickel from 2004, 2005, or 2006 with an unfamiliar design on it, then you probably have a Westward Journey nickel.
There were 5 different designs made altogether. Two for the 2004 edition, two for the 2005 edition, and one for the 2006 edition.
- Up first is the 2004 nickel with the peace medal reverse (two hands being shook). This design by Norman E. Nemeth was adapted from the reverse of certain original peace medals that were commissioned for the expedition. These medals bore the portrait of Jefferson on the front and symbols of peace and friendship on the other. They were presented to native American chiefs and other important leaders as a token of goodwill from the United States.
- Next is the 2004 nickel with the keelboat (small ship or boat) reverse. This design by Al Maletsky depicts the boat that transported the Lewis and Clark expedition and their supplies through the rivers of the Louisiana Territory.
- The first 2005 edition designed by Joe Fitzgerald featured a new portrait of Jefferson that showed half of his head and said “liberty” on the front. The American bison reverse side was designed by Jamie Frankie and features a bison in profile. Described in journals from the expedition, these large animals held great significance for many American Indian cultures. The second reverse design of 2005 titled “ocean in view” was also designed by Joe Fitzgerald. It depicts cliffs over the Pacific Ocean and an inscription inspired by a November 7, 1805 entry in Clark’s journal: “Ocean in view! O! The joy!”.
- The 2006 design by Jamie Frankie has another different portrait of Jefferson on the front. This time he is facing forward and you can see his whole face, not just a side view. The traditional Monticello design is continued on the reverse of this one and all other nickels to date.
The Value Of Westward Journey Nickels
Ok, that’s enough of the stories you say… just tell me what it’s worth.
Unfortunately, there were hundreds of millions minted of each design and, like almost every other coin that you’ll find in circulation, it’s only worth its face value: 5 cents.
You can view the Westward Journey series here.
I have been collecting and trading coins for years. Coin collecting is a hobby for me, and I’ve done a lot of research about coins through the years.