Nickel Carries an Important Piece of American History

The nickel, a commonly used coin in the United States, features the image of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the country. Since 1938, Jefferson’s profile has graced the obverse (heads) side of the nickel, making it easily recognizable to Americans.

Thomas Jefferson was not only a president but also a renowned Founding Father and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. His intellectual contributions and leadership during the early years of the United States make him a significant figure in American history.

The portrayal of Jefferson on the nickel showcases a left-facing image of the president. He is depicted with his signature curly hair and a thoughtful expression on his face. The design aims to capture his intellect and his role in shaping the nation’s ideals.

The reverse (tails) side of the nickel has undergone several design changes over the years. From 1938 to 2003, it featured Monticello, Jefferson’s famous Virginia estate, where he spent considerable time and where he is buried. The image of Monticello symbolizes Jefferson’s architectural interests and his embodiment of the American spirit.

In 2004, the United States Mint launched the “Westward Journey” nickel series to commemorate the Lewis and Clark expedition, which was commissioned by Jefferson during his presidency. The new nickel designs featured various depictions of the journey, including images of the keelboat used by the explorers and a profile of a Native American woman, Sacagawea, who played a crucial role as their guide.

Since 2006, the nickel has returned to featuring Jefferson’s image on the obverse side, while the reverse side now showcases an image of Monticello once again. This design change reflects the enduring significance of Jefferson’s contributions to the nation’s founding and his lasting legacy.

The nickel, with Thomas Jefferson’s image, serves as a reminder of the rich history and the influential leaders who have shaped the United States. Through its design, it honors Jefferson’s role as a president, a statesman, and an advocate for the principles of liberty and democracy.

As with other coins bearing the images of past presidents, the nickel allows us to carry a piece of history in our pockets and serves as a tangible connection to the leaders who have molded the nation into what it is today.

What President Is On Each Coin?

The current U.S. coins in circulation feature different presidents on each denomination. Here is a breakdown of the presidents and their corresponding coins:

1. George Washington: He is depicted on the front (obverse) of the quarter coin, which is worth 25 cents. The back (reverse) of the quarter showcases various designs representing different states and national parks.

2. Thomas Jefferson: You can find his portrait on the front of the nickel, which is worth 5 cents. The reverse side of the nickel features a depiction of Monticello, Jefferson’s estate in Virginia.

3. Abraham Lincoln: He is depicted on the front of the penny, which is worth 1 cent. The back of the penny showcases the Lincoln Memorial, a famous monument dedicated to President Lincoln.

Please note that the $1 bill is not considered a coin but a paper currency. George Washington’s image is found on the front of the $1 bill.

Additionally, the $2 bill is quite rare and not commonly used in circulation. Thomas Jefferson’s portrait is featured on the front of this bill.

It’s important to mention that other presidents have also been featured on coins throughout U.S. history, but currently, only these three presidents are represented on the commonly used coins.

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What President Is On A Quarter?

The president featured on the obverse (heads) side of the quarter is none other than George Washington, who served as the first president of the United States. This depiction of Washington has been present on the quarter since 1932, commemorating the 200th anniversary of his birth. Notably, the portrait of Washington on the quarter has him facing to the right, which was introduced in 2022. Prior to that, quarters displayed Washington facing to the left.

What President Head Is On A Dime?

The president’s head that is depicted on the dime is that of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who served as the 32nd president of the United States. Since 1946, the dime has featured his portrait on its obverse side. Roosevelt’s image is prominently displayed on the coin, showcasing his likeness and serving as a reminder of his presidential legacy.


The person featured on the nickel, which is a five-cent coin, is Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States. Thomas Jefferson’s portrait has been on the obverse (heads) side of the nickel since its inception. This decision to feature a president on the nickel was a significant departure from the traditional practice of not including portraits on coins, as it was met with some opposition from the public. However, the introduction of Jefferson’s image on the nickel was a milestone in recognizing the contributions and significance of past presidents in shaping the nation’s history. The reverse (tails) side of the nickel showcases the iconic Monticello, Jefferson’s historic home in Virginia. The inclusion of Jefferson’s image on the nickel serves as a reminder of his pivotal role in the founding of the United States and his lasting impact on American democracy.

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William Armstrong

William Armstrong is a senior editor with, where he writes on a wide variety of topics. He has also worked as a radio reporter and holds a degree from Moody College of Communication. William was born in Denton, TX and currently resides in Austin.