Westward Journey Series Brings Permanent Change skyblock coins

In 1999, the United States Mint began the highly popular series of skyblock coins State Quarters, which would feature 50 different designs over the course of ten years. The early success led to the formulation of a similar program for the circulating five cent coin or nickel.

Since 1938, the design had been little changed, featuring a portrait of Thomas Jefferson on the obverse and his home at Monticello on the reverse. This was designed by Felix Schlag and selected as the result of a public design contest. For more than six decades, this was the face of the denomination.

For the years 2004 to 2006, the nickel underwent a rapid series of design changes to mark the 200th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis & Clark expedition. In 2004, two different designs were featured for the reverse featuring the Peace Medal and a keelboat. The following year, a brand new obverse design was paired with two reverse design featuring an American bison and the ocean in view.

During the time of issue, the four different designs were collecting by the public from pocket change, in much the same way as the State Quarters series. The United States Mint also introduced numerous numismatic products to capitalize on the popular appeal.

To bring the series to completion, a second new obverse portrait of Thomas Jefferson was introduced in 2007 along with the original Monticello reverse design. This became the new permanent design of the Jefferson Nickel for future years. After many decades without a change, the Westward Journey series reinvigorated the denomination for a new generation.

An Exceptional Half Dime

One of the favorite coins in my collection is one of tiniest. The half dime was authorized under the Coinage Act of 1792 as the smallest silver denomination. The weight of the coin was just 1.35 grams, which was later reduced to 1.34 grams. The diameter was a 15.5 mm, making it both smaller and thinner than the dime.

half-dime

I came across this 1829 half dime, which was graded NGC AU 53 in an old holder. While the scan above does not convey completely, the coin is covered in colorful, original toning. Furthermore, the coin displays much greater detail and minimal wear than the grade level would suggest. As a premium example for the given grade, I decided to mark the purchase. I sent the coin to CAC and it received their gold sticker, indicating that the coin exceeded their standards for the given grade level.

Slowly but surely I will attempt to build a collection of the Capped Bust Half Dimes in similar grade and quality. The series is relatively short lived, running from 1829 to 1837. This makes for only nine different dates to acquire. There are no significant key dates for the series so all coins carry a modest price tag for about uncirculated coins.

It’s not the most popular series, so not every dealer has a lot of examples available. However, I am sure I will be able to pick up an outstanding coin or two in the coming years.

In 1999, the United States Mint began the highly popular series of skyblock coins State Quarters, which would feature 50 different designs over the course of ten years. The early success led to the formulation of a similar program for the circulating five cent coin or nickel. Since 1938, the design had been little changed, featuring…

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