1938 newspaper w 1st view Original design of JEFFERSON NICKEL by Felix Schlag

  • Model: RYU-fcm-379133
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Condition: Used: An item that has been previously used. See the seller’s listing for full details and description of any imperfections. See all condition definitions– opens in a new window or tab ... Read moreabout the condition  


1938 newspaper with the 1st public view of the original design of the JEFFERSON NICKEL by Felix Schlag - the reverse view of Monticello was later changed from the one shown in this newspaper

- inv # 3K-220

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SEE PHOTO----- COMPLETE, ORIGINAL NEWSPAPER, the Bridgeport Times-Star (CT) dated April 23, 1938. This newspaper contains a 6" x 4" front page photo showing the new design of the "Heads and tails of (the) New Nickel (coin)." This was the general public's introduction to the Jefferson nickel's new design; however, as it turned out the reverse of this coin was later altered from the design shown in the photos in this newspaper.

Great item to frame and display by a serious present day collector of US nickels.

In late January 1938, the Mint announced an open competition for the new nickel design, with the winner to receive a prize of $1,000. The deadline for submissions was April 15; Mint Director Nellie Tayloe Ross and three sculptors were to be the judges. Competitors were to place a portrait of Jefferson on the obverse, and a depiction of his house, Monticello, on the reverse.

By mid-March, few entries had been received. This seeming lack of response proved to be misleading, as many artists planned on entering the contest and would submit designs near the deadline. On April 20, the judges viewed 390 entries; four days later, Felix Schlag was announced as the winner. Schlag had been born in Germany and had come to the United States only nine years previously. Either through a misunderstanding or an oversight, Schlag did not include his initials in the design; they would not be added until 1966. The bust of Jefferson on the obverse closely resembles his bust by sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon, which is to be found in Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

In early May, it was reported that the Mint required some changes to Schlag's design prior to coining. Schlag's original design showed a three-quarters view of Monticello, including a tree. Officials disliked the lettering Schlag had used, a more modernistic style than that used on the eventual coin. The tree was another source of official displeasure; officials decided it was a palm tree and incorrectly believed Jefferson could not have been growing such a thing. A formal request for changes was sent to Schlag in late May. The sculptor was busy with other projects and did not work on the nickel until mid-June. When he did, he changed the reverse to a plain view, or head-on perspective, of Monticello. Art historian Cornelius Vermeule described the change:

Official taste eliminated this interesting, even exciting, view, and substituted the mausoleum of Roman profile and blurred forms that masquerades as the building on the finished coin. On the trial reverse the name "Monticello" seemed scarcely necessary and was therefore, logically, omitted. On the coin as issued it seems essential lest one think the building portrayed is the vault at Fort Knox, a state archives building, or a public library somewhere.

The designs were submitted to the Commission of Fine Arts for their recommendation in mid-July; the version submitted included the new version of Monticello but may not have included the revised lettering. The Commission approved the designs. However, Commission chairman Charles Moore asked that the positions of the mottos on the reverse be switched, with the country name at the top; this was not done. After the Fine Arts Commission recommendation, the Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, approved the design.

The Federal Fine Arts Commission ... didn't like the view of Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, so they required the artist to do another picture of the front of the house. They did not like the lettering on the coin. It wasn't in keeping, but they forgot to say what it wasn't in keeping with ... There is no more reason for imitating the Romans in this respect [by using Roman-style lettering on the coin] than there would be for modeling our automobiles after the chariot of Ben Hur's day.

Very good condition. This listing includes the complete entire original newspaper, NOT just a clipping or a page of it. STEPHEN A. GOLDMAN HISTORICAL NEWSPAPERS stands behind all of the items that we sell with a no questions asked, money back guarantee. Every item we sell is an original newspaper printed on the date indicated at the beginning of its description. U.S. buyers pay priority mail postage which includes waterproof plastic and a heavy cardboard flat to protect your purchase from damage in the mail. International postage is quoted when we are informed as to where the package is to be sent. We do combine postage (to reduce postage costs) for multiple purchases sent in the same package. We accept payment by PAYPAL as well as by CREDIT CARD (Visa and Master Card). We list thousands of rare newspapers with dates from 1570 through 2004 on Ebay each week. This is truly SIX CENTURIES OF HISTORY that YOU CAN OWN!

Stephen A. Goldman Historical Newspapers has been in the business of buying and selling historical newspapers for over 45 years. Dr. Goldman is a consultant to the Freedom Forum Newseum and a member of the American Antiquarian Society. You can buy with confidence from us, knowing that we stand behind all of our historical items with a 100% money back guarantee. Let our 45+ years of experience work for YOU ! We have hundreds of thousands of historical newspapers (and their very early precursors) for sale.

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