The first regular Jefferson Nickel was minted in 1938 to honor Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States from 1801-1809. He drafted the Declaration of Independence in 1776; as President, he secured the Louisiana Purchase and commissioned the historic Lewis and Clark Expedition to explore the West. The coin was designed by Felix Schlag, who won a national competition and received a $1,000 prize.
The obverse depicts a portrait of Jefferson based on a bust made in 1789 by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. The reverse shows Jefferson’s home at Monticello in Virginia.
Starting in 1942 – after some coins had already been made in nickel – the U.S. Mint started making Jefferson Nickels in .350 silver because nickel was vital to America’s World War II effort. They are the first and only silver Nickels in history, and they can be easily identified both by the date and by the large Mint mark over the dome of Monticello on the reverse; regular Jefferson Nickels do not have this Mint mark.
Silver Nickels were made from 1942to 1945 at the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mints. Your collection includes one coin from each mint.