Jefferson Nickel (1938-Date)
In 1938, the 25th year of the Buffalo nickel motif, it was decided to replace it with a new design. A public competition was announced with a prize of $1,000 to be awarded to the winner. Eventually 390 plaster models were submitted. Felix Schlag, a German immigrant who settled in Chicago nine years earlier, was announced as the winner on April 24th.
After modifications the design, featuring Thomas Jefferson on the obverse and his home, Monticello, on the reverse, was adopted for circulation. Mintage commenced in 1938 and has continued since that time. Certain nickel varieties from 1942 to 1945 were struck in a special alloy composed of 56% copper, 35% silver, and 9% manganese, to omit nickel which was in strong demand for war purposes. Several interesting varieties occur in the series, including an issue of 1939 with the inscriptions MONTICELLO and FIVE CENTS doubled, and several overmintmarks, the 1949-D over S, 1954-S over D, and 1955-D over S.