New coin includes image of keelboat

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

FORT CALHOUN, Neb. -- A new nickel commemorating the exploration of the West made its debut Tuesday aboard a 55-foot replica of the keelboat used in the Lewis and Clark expedition 200 years ago.

The nickel bears the familiar likeness of President Thomas Jefferson on one side. But instead of Jefferson's home, Monticello, the coin's flip side depicts an angled side view of the keelboat that took Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and their crew through the rivers of the Louisiana Territory in search of a passage to the Pacific Ocean.

The words "Lewis and Clark" appear beneath the keelboat.

Thousands of people stood in line in 90-plus degree heat to exchange money for the coins.

"I think they could be collectors' items someday," said Roy Harrington, 50, who toted $10 worth of the newly minted nickels released Tuesday at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park near Fort Calhoun north of Omaha.

The coin's release coincided with the bicentennial anniversary of Lewis and Clark's historic first meeting on the banks of the Missouri River at a site near present-day Fort Calhoun.

"I have a lot of grandchildren and great-grandchildren coming up, and I want to be able to pass these along to them," Harrington said.

The "keelboat" nickel is one of two 5-cent coins struck this year to commemorate the Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clark's expedition. Earlier this year, the "Peace Medal" nickel was released.


On the Net:

Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission: http:/www.lewisandclarkne.org

U.S. Mint: http://www.usmint.gov/index.cfm

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