New Nickel Debuts In St. Louis; Supplies Run Dry
By Tom Weber, KWMU
St. Louis, MO – Nickels with a new design will soon be in people's pockets.
The U.S. Mint publicly released the first of the coins Sunday in St. Louis.
The new nickel was part of a day-long ceremony at the Gateway Arch marking 200 years since the U.S. took control of the Louisiana Territory from France.
Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, will leave the back of the nickel for the next two years. In its place will be four different designs.
The first, released Sunday, features the design that was on a peace medal 200 years ago. Lewis and Clark gave that medal to the American Indians they met on their three-year their expedition to the West.
The design features two hands clasped in a handshake, with the words "Louisiana Purchase 1803."
The coins were so popular Sunday, people had bought all one million of them before the Director of the Mint even spoke at the ceremony. (Buyers were limited to 5 rolls, or 80 nickels, each)
The other three designs also mark the Lewis and Clark expedition. They'll go into circulation over the next two years.
Monticello will return in 2006, but a new portrait of Jefferson will then go on the front of the coin.
It is the first new nickel in 66 years.