Washington nickel

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Washington nickel
United States
Value5 cents (0.05 US dollars)
Mass5.000 g (0.1615 troy oz)
Diameter20.50 mm (0.8077 in)
  • 75% copper
  • 25% nickel
    (patterns were also struck in various other metals, including bronze)
Years of minting1866
1866 5C Five Cents, Judd-461, Pollock-535, R.5.jpg
DesignGeorge Washington
DesignerJames B. Longacre
Design date1866
1866 5C Five Cents, Judd-461, Pollock-535, R.5 rev.jpg
DesignDenomination surrounded by a wreath
DesignerJames B. Longacre
Design date1866
Design discontinued1866

The Washington nickel was a pattern coin originally intended as a proposed design for the copper-nickel United States five-cent piece, struck in 1866. Designed by James B. Longacre, various different types of designs exist, as well as in different metals (including bronze and brass).[1] The design was eventually rejected in favor of another Logacre design, the Shield nickel, although the final design utilized one of the proposed reverse designs for the coin.[2]


As the bill authorizing the Nickel five-cent piece was still pending in Congress, Longacre had begun producing pattern coins between late 1865 and early 1866, the Washington Nickel being one of them (other designs included a pattern featuring the late President Abraham Lincoln). Among the Reverse designs proposed by Longacre included one with a number 5 within a circle of thirteen stars, each separated from the next by rays (a similar design was eventually adopted on the Shield nickel). Another reverse design featured the numeral within a wreath.[3] Different variations of the Washington Nickel were eventually struck with most of these proposed reverse designs, as well as different versions of the bust of Washington.[1] The various obverse designs also utilized different slogans - alongside the now familiar "In God We Trust" (various on either the obverse[4] or on the reverse[5] was "God and Our Country"[6]. Specimens were struck in various different metals alongside the standard copper-nickel composition, most were in various copper alloys such as bronze or brass, but some examples were also struck in silver and lead.[7]

Washington nickel obverse designs[edit]

Washington nickel reverse designs[edit]

Of all the reverse designs, the Shield nickel reverse without rays is odd as it was a mule (the motto "United States of America" appears on both sides of the coin) that was privately struck (although using dies from the mint) on a slightly larger brass planchet 3 mm thick (as opposed to the standard 1.95 mm thickness).[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Washington Nickel Patterns". Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  2. ^ "J473/P564". Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  3. ^ Taxay 1983, pp. 244–245.
  4. ^ "J473/P564". Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  5. ^ "J461/P535". Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  6. ^ "J481/P571". Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  7. ^ "J516/P543". Retrieved 12 March 2019.