Coins - Lewis and Clark Coin
and Currency Set
The US Mint released the Lewis and Clark Coin and Currency Set in 2004. The contents of the 2004 set included
the most coins, the most stamps and the largest currency denomination (though a specimen, not real currency) of any
of the coin and currency sets. Plus, the set also contained a replica of the Lewis and Clark peace medal and two
booklets - one for the Lewis and Clark
Expedition and one for the Louisiana Purchase.
To date, 2004 marks the last year of the coin and currency sets released by the US Mint. The US
Mint limited the Lewis and Clark Coin and Currency Set to 50,000.
The design of the packaging has a similar look to the American Buffalo Coin and Currency Set, but the design is
The front cover shows the image of a calumet stem made of silk, feathers, quills and wool on wood. A long
calumet is more widely known as a "peace pipe" and provides a fitting representation of expedition's
encounters with the native tribes.
The Lewis and Clark Coin and Currency Set included the outer sleeve, the coin and currency holder and the
two booklets. In addition to the calumet stem, the front covers also showed the peace medal.
In the case of the coin and currency holder the actual medal's obverse shows on the front.
The obverse of the replica Peace Medal shows a left profile view of Thomas Jefferson. The medal's
inscription states: "TH. JEFFERSON PRESIDENT OF THE U. S. A. D. 1801" around the rim.
Opened, the coin and currency holder shows stamps and the reverse of the peace medal on the left and the reverse
of the four coins on the right.
"The Journey of Discovery" describes Jefferson's purchase of the Louisiana Territory and his
selection of Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark as heads of the exploration team. They gathered
roughly 40 men for their team, called the "Corps of Discovery," and on May 14, 1804, they began
their historical journey. Their adventure took them over 8000 miles where they met with nearly 50 different tribes,
each with their own unique and diverse cultures.
The Lewis and Clark Coin and Currency Set includes three different stamps also released in 2004 to recognize the
200th anniversary of the Corps of Discovery. On the left above the replica peace medal, the 37¢ stamp shows a
portrait of William Clark. On the right, a portrait of Meriwether Lewis is on another 37¢ stamp. At the bottom
right, another 37¢ stamp portrays the two men in their adventure garb pointing and looking westward. In small
print, the stamp includes the inscription "Lewis and Clark Bicentennial."
The reverse of the replica Peace Medal simply shows a crossed hatchet and pipe above a handshake with the
inscription "PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP." Much of this design can be found on the reverse of the Peace Medal five
The right panel includes the reverse views of the four coins. From the left, the "Peace Medal" nickel coin, the
Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemorative Silver Dollar coin, the Sacagawea golden dollar coin and the
"Keelboat" nickel coin.
The Westward Journey "Peace Medal" nickel shows the handshake and the crossed hatchet and pipe similar to
- yet slightly different from - the reverse design of the replica Peace Medal shown above.
The reverse of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemorative Silver Dollar coin includes a small version of the
Peace Medal design more in keeping with the original artwork.
The reverse of the Sacagawea golden dollar coin has an eagle soaring while surrounded by 17 stars.
Both the golden dollar and the Lewis and Clark commemorative silver dollar include 17 stars on their
reverse. These 17 stars represent the number of states in our country in 1804, the year they began their
The last coin on the right is the Westward Journey "Keelboat" nickel. Lewis designed the keelboat for
their journey up the Missouri River. His specifications allowed the keelboat to be "sailed, rowed, poled like
a raft or towed from the riverbank."
Fully unfolded, the coin and currency holder reveals the obverse of the four coins and the front of the $10
Bison Note Specimen currency.
Three of the four coins are "pocket change" coins and their obverse designs are easily recognizable.
The fourth coin is the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemorative Silver Dollar coin.
The 2004 nickel coins continued with the same Jefferson obverse as had been used for many years.
The commemorative silver dollar coin shows a full body view of Lewis and Clark in fringed frontier gear.
The dates on the coin, 1804 and 1806, represent the start, May 14, 1804, and the finish, September 23, 1806, of
their grand adventure.
Sacagawea played an important role, some could argue the most important one, on Lewis and Clark's Corps of
Discovery. Her likeness along with her infant son can be seen on the obverse of the golden dollar coin.
Like the Peace Medal nickel, the Keelboat nickel's obverse includes the easily recognized portrait of Thomas
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced the obverse of the $10 Bison Note Specimen currency from the
original plate. The original Bison Notes were in use from 1901 to 1925.
The currency Note was in use during the Centennial Expositions for the Louisiana Purchase and Lewis
and Clark held in 1904 and 1905. As the text describes, "Lewis and Clark represented expansion and
opportunity, while the bison symbolized the strength and spirit of the American West."
Though the Corps of Discovery brought back many gifts from the tribal people they encountered on
their adventurous journey, only a few remain today. The back of the coin and currency
set holder shows a picture of an impressive bear claw necklace attributed to Lewis and Clark. The necklace
is made of 38 bear claws, each roughly three inches long.
As with other coin and currency sets, the Mint included an explanatory insert showing how to adjust the
coins when they become misaligned.
For the Lewis and Clark Coin and Currency Set, three different signatures provide authentication for the
contents. These Certificates of Authenticity can be found on the back of the outer sleeve.
Henrietta Holsman Fore, Director of the United States Mint, certified the four uncirculated coins. Similarly,
Thomas A. Ferguson, Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing signified his approval of the $10 Bison Note
With all of the imagery of artifacts and the history included in this bicentennial set, a third signature
approved the contents. John W. Carlin, Archivist of the United States National Archives and Records Administration
certified the information as being correct.
In 1803, Thomas Jefferson almost doubled America's land mass. From May 14, 1804 to September 23, 1806,
Lewis and Clark and their Corps of Discovery explored the new lands.
2004 marked the bicentennial of their legendary adventure. The Lewis and Clark Coin and Currency Set with
its coins, currency, stamps and booklets provides excellent reminders of how this nation was formed.
You can find more information in the accompanying booklets: The Expedition and The Lousiana Purchase.