Over the past few years, coin collectors and the general public have been elated over the new state quarters, and now, the nickel is due to receive a similar makeover. The United States Mint officially announced this week that the back of the nickel (which currently features Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson) will soon be changed to feature images celebrating the 200th anniversary of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. Some collectors have been eager for a change to the current nickel, which was last modified in 1938 when the image of a buffalo on the coin's back side was replaced with Jefferson's home. The change was not without controversy; when the initial discussions occurred, there was an uproar from many state residents unhappy with the removal of the image of Monticello from the coin. A member of the House of Representatives from Virginia, Eric Cantor, introduced legislation to keep Monticello on the nickel, but backtracked when a compromise was reached that would bring the image back to the coin in 2006.
The first link leads to a recent news article about the design change of the nickel from the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The second link leads to additional coverage of the story from the Seattle Times. The third link takes visitors to a press release from the United States Mint describing this "renaissance of coin design." The fourth link leads to coverage of Representative Cantor's legislation designed to retain the use of Monticello on the nickel from CoinResource.com. The fifth link leads to the homepage of the American Numismatic Association, where visitors can learn about coin collecting and view online exhibits of rare and unusual coins. The final link leads to a page dedicated to telling the history of wooden nickels, which were invented during the Great Depression.