Skip to main content

1938 Fifty Years Ago

June 2024
1min read

The United States Mint unveiled its design for the new Thomas Jefferson five-cent piece on April 21. Felix Schlag’s winning entry, depicting Jefferson in profile on one side and Monticello on the other, replaced the twenty-year-old Indian-head nickel. Except for minor modifications, the coin’s design remains unchanged to this day.

From 1942 to 1945 the nickel contained no nickel, as a result of a wartime metals shortage. The U.S. Mint substituted a mixture of copper, silver, and manganese for the traditional copper-nickel alloy that had jingled in America’s pockets since 1866.

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.

Donate