Coins - Lewis and Clark Coin
and Currency Set Booklet - The Expedition
The Lewis and Clark Coin and Currency Set contains two booklets. Both booklets use the long stemmed calumet on
the cover with a picture of the Jefferson Peace Medal in the lower corner. The coin and currency set's
booklet titled "The Lewis and Clark Expedition" shows the medal's reverse with the crossed
hatchet and pipe above the handshake.
The pictures throughout the coin and currency set booklet portray the expedition along with images of
the coins, stamps, medal and currency.
The introduction, A Perspective on Discovery, was written by the President of the National Council of the
Lewis and Clark Bicentennial, Robert R. Archibald. He notes, "The story of the Lewis and Clark expedition resonates
through the centuries with courage, teamwork and unflagging spirit."
The "Symbols and Substance of Change" discusses the original design and composition of the Jefferson Peace
Medals. Jefferson ordered the relatively new Mint to make the medals in order to give them to the native Indians.
He described the giving of peace medals as "an ancient custom from time immemorial."
The following two pages in the coin and currency set expedition booklet provide pictures and
commentary on the diary pages both Lewis and Clark maintained as they journeyed through uncharted
Excited about the new western territory, President Jefferson advised the explorers to keep "meticulous records"
as they traveled. As such, the men kept daily journals and filled hundreds of pages with notes, maps and drawings
of flora and fauna.
How do you prepare to go into the unknown? President Jefferson selected his personal secretary and family
friend, Meriwether Lewis, the first captain of the expedition. Lewis spent months listing and obtaining the nearly
two tons of supplies, gear and gifts. His lists were separated by type from medical to scientific,
from food and clothing to gifts.
Pages 6 and 7 in the coin and currency set expedition booklet continue the discussion
of Lewis and Clark's preparations and the beginning of the journey.
Page 6 shows pictures of Lewis's detailed design specifications for the keelboat, the reverse
image on the Westward Journey Keelboat nickel coin and a 1954 3¢ stamp commemorating the
150th anniversary showing a keelboat. They also note, however, that the stamp's keelboat differs from Lewis's
Not counting Sacagawea, men from the east made up most of the Corps of Discovery. Team members were in awe
of the new plants and animals as they began the journey along the Missouri River.
Early days in the adventure, the Corps of Discovery lost the one and only man on the trip. One of the
first men to volunteer for the trip, Sergeant Charles Floyd, became gravely ill and died on August 20, 1804.
Medical historians believe he died of a ruptured appendix.
The next pages in the coin and currency set's expedition booklet tell the tales of the
meetings with the various tribes and the discoverers' efforts to document the explorers' findings
along the way.
The Corps of Discovery met with its first native tribe on August 3, 1804 just north of what we know as Omaha,
Nebraska. Continuing northward, the party arrived at Fort Mandan on October 25, 1804 where the Mandan
Indians invited them to stay the winter.
In April 1805, Lewis dispatched the keelboat with a shipment for President Jefferson. The expedition's many
plant, mineral and animal (some live) collections were sent back east along with reports and maps.
The coin and currency set's expedition booklet describes how The "Permanent Party" continued the journey
westward toward Montana.
With the keelboat gone, the party obtained pirogues and canoes to continue the journey. In his notes, Lewis
tells of Sacagawea's calm assistance when one of the boats holding tools and supplies capsized. Her quick
actions saved many of their important papers and essential scientific gear.
Lewis and Clark had hoped to continue the journey via water. But, the Rocky Mountains and the Continental Divide
made that impossible. In August 1805, the team set up camp at the base of the mountains.
The mountains proved to be a cold challenge to the team, but a happy reunion occurred first.
Sacagawea had been separated from her Shoshone family and had not seen them for several years. The band of
Shoshone that the Corps of Discovery met near the mountains was led by Sacagawea's brother. After several years of
separation, the reunion between brother and sister was a celebration.
As the team faced their mountainous challenges, the shipment to President Jefferson arrived. The components
dispersed in several directions, however the documents including the maps were entered into Congressional
Several copies of the printed report became popular. The information was copied and became a book-length best
seller both in America and abroad.
Though the expedition did not lose any more members, the cold and snowy mountains proved to be a hardship
to the team with limited gear.
On the other side of the mountains, the team met with the Nez Perce who gave them shelter and time to recover.
The Indians also taught them how to make new canoes for continuing the journey.
The expedition continued on the westward trek to the Pacific Ocean.
Lewis and Clark perceived the expedition a success when they arrived at the Pacific Ocean. Once there, they
wanted to begin the return journey immediately, but the winter weather halted their progress and kept them in the
In March 1806, the Corps of Discovery loaded the boats and began the journey home. On September 23,
1806, the Corps returned to the St. Louis starting point and received a welcome as heroes.
The importance and significance of the Lewis and Clark Expedition is remembered many ways, and in
particular, on stamps, coins and currency.
The expedition gained many artifacts both as gifts and as purchases along their 8000 mile trek. Through
preservation, several of their artifacts continue to survive in historical collections today.
Explorers exhibit bravery that transcends years. The Lewis and Clark Coin and Currency Set recognized their bravery and
their importance in 2004 on the bicentennial anniversary of the start of their grand adventure.