Coins - Lewis and Clark Coin
and Currency Set Booklet - The Louisiana Purchase
The Lewis and Clark Coin and Currency Set contained two booklets. The second, titled "The Louisiana Purchase"
shows a similar design for the front cover with the long stemmed calumet. But, this booklet used the
obverse view of the Jefferson Peace Medal showing the left facing portrait of President
Jefferson. This portrait is similar to yet different from the traditional Jefferson nickel coin
The Louisiana Purchase booklet in the coin and currenct set notes that President Jefferson's purchase
of the Louisiana territory preceded the historical Lewis and Clark expedition.
Daniel R. Jordan, President of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc. that owns and operates Monticello, provided
the introduction to The Louisiana Purchase Booklet. He comments that Jefferson was an "Atlantic" man. Jefferson
traveled along the eastern area near his birthplace in Virginia and north as far as New England. He
also traveled overseas to England, France, Germany and Italy. But with all of his interest in the western frontier,
Jefferson never traveled west of the Allegheny Mountains. He reveled in the information supplied by Lewis and
Thomas Jefferson was a writer not an orator as evidenced by his penning the Declaration of Independence at only
33 years of age. And, though a reluctant candidate, Jefferson became our third president serving two terms
between 1801 and 1809.
At 83 years old, Jefferson died July 4, 1826 on the 50th anniversary of the signing of his Declaration of
The coin and currency set's Louisiana Purchase booklet shows how the boundaries of the United
States remained relatively constant from the end of the Revolutionary war until Jefferson's purchase of the
The Paris Peace Treaty of 1783 defined the boundaries of the United States which were recognized by France and
Spain. The territory along the Mississippi was held by both countries.
A secret treaty in 1800 had Spain ceding its area back to the French. Americans became concerned that
France would want to take parts of America as it tried to expand.
Early in 1803, President Jefferson set two different courses in motion.
On the one hand, he sent emissaries to Paris to negotiate the purchase of New Orleans and the adjacent Gulf
Coast areas from France. At the same time, he asked Congress for money to support an Army expedition into the
area west of the Mississippi for potential trade with the Indians.
Between rebellion against the French troops and disease in the settlements, the French plans
of western expansion weakened significantly. Not wanting the Louisiana territory to fall to the British,
France offered the whole of the territory to the Americans.
Not wanting to lose the opportunity, the emissaries decided to proceed without consulting Jefferson or Congress.
Both felt that getting messages back to the States then waiting on a reply would take too much time, and
the opportunity would be lost.
After back and forth negotiations, the American emissaries and the French representatives agreed upon a sum of
$15,000,000. Initially, the purchase did not include the boundaries of the new territory, however the Louisiana
Purchase added 828,000 square miles to America at just under three cents an acre.
On December 20, 1803, the Louisiana became official American soil. The Army expedition for which Jefferson had
petitioned Congress now transformed into an exploration of America's new western lands.
In addition to coins and currency, many stamps have recognized the contributors and the
successes of The Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition through the years.
Instead of celebrating in 1903, the hundred year anniversary, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition was held in St.
Louis to coincide with the first Olympic Games in America. As another first, the Mint's first gold
commemorative coins were minted in 1903 commemorating the Louisiana Purchase. And, in 1904, the US Post Office
offered stamps recognizing the efforts of several individuals associated with the Louisiana Purchase.
Earlier in 1898, the US Post Office had released stamps recognizing the westward expansion. The first
commemorative stamps were planned for two-color printing but were printed in one color. One hundred years later,
the Post Office re-issued the stamps in their planned two-color scheme.
The back cover shows an Indian encampment on the banks of the Missouri River, a part of the Louisiana
History remains alive through art and artifacts. The US Mint's Lewis and Clark Coin and Currency Set remembers the vision and the
bravery of the American leaders and people during the early days of our nation.