October 05, 2005

Yet more numismatic insipidness.

A smile for a nickel: Cheerful Jefferson on new coin

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Mint is trying something different after nearly a century of depicting presidents in somber profiles on the nation's coins.

The new nickel features Thomas Jefferson with the hint of a smile.

Mint officials unveiled the design yesterday in Washington. [...]

and from the US Mint site--

[…] The forward-looking 2006 nickel obverse (heads side) was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) artist Jamie Franki of Concord, North Carolina, using the Rembrandt Peale painting of 1800, the year Jefferson was elected President. The new nickel obverse will be sculpted by United States 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. […]

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


Here's the design--

and here's the putative inspiration--
peale jefferson.jpg

You know, I would really like for us to go back to having serious money, instead of stuff that looks like Chuckie Cheese tokens. And second, despite the appearance of high relief in the drawing from the Mint, as witnessed by the Sacagawea dollar, all that relief simply doesn't show up when you try to do anything other than a profile. Shallow head-on bas-relief winds up looking weird, no matter what. And doggone it, the nickel looks less like Peale's portrait and much more like Chuck "The Rifleman" Connors--
chuck connors.jpg

Anyway, if we're intent on doing this kind of silly mess, why don't they come up with a durable way to do full-color portraits on coins? Now, that would be cool.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at October 5, 2005 10:57 AM

Oh my gosh, PLEASE don't give them any ideas! I think all this bizarre tinkering is awful. The currency looks like play money to me, and adding color to the coins would just confuse me. I'd probably wind up eating my nickels and trying to spend my Skittles.

Though I must say that the idea of Chuck Connors on a dollar bill is intriguing....

Posted by: Grouchy Old Yorkie Lady at October 5, 2005 11:33 AM

Hey, cool! Edible money!

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at October 5, 2005 11:41 AM


The new nickel looks hideous. Not at all like the painting. Jefferson looks cadaverous.

Posted by: Sarah G. at October 5, 2005 11:58 AM

I don't spend much time examining my change, so I first saw one of the new bison nickles in person the other day. I hate them!

Posted by: Jordana at October 5, 2005 03:12 PM

I like the buffalo okay, but Jefferson looks much too swishy--almost like that Alex Hamilton dandy.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at October 5, 2005 03:40 PM

It also looks like they screwed up and forgot to center his picture.

Posted by: Jordana at October 5, 2005 03:51 PM

Maybe if we started making asymmetrical currency...

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at October 5, 2005 04:09 PM