PHILADELPHIA – The NThe United States Mint at Philadelphia was honored with a historic marker today for its production of the Nation’s first new nickel in 66 years. The National Geodetic Survey, an agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), unveiled the brass marker – one of many to be placed around the Nation at sites related to the Lewis and Clark expedition. The United States Mint at Philadelphia is producing about half of the Nation’s circulating Westward Journey Nickel Series™ coins, which mark the bicentennials of the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition.

“This commemorative marker reflects our commitment to producing American coins that reflect our Nation’s history,” said United States Mint Director Henrietta Holsman Fore. “The reverse of the Jefferson Peace Medal, which Lewis and Clark gave to American Indian leaders as tokens of peace and friendship, is the image chosen for both this marker and the United States Mint’s first new nickel of the series.”

Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher, the Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator, along with Charlie Challstrom, Director of the National Geodetic Survey, and Dr. Nancy Morgan, Executive Assistant to Philadelphia Mayor John Street, joined Director Fore at the United States Mint at Philadelphia to celebrate the placement of the “Corps of Discovery II” geodetic marker.

“NOAA takes great pride in its historical roots that date to the time of Lewis and Clark. The placement of this marker salutes their work in the early mapping and charting of the United States,” said Lautenbacher. “Today NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey continues to serve the nation by maintaining the National Spatial Reference System that provides the foundation for much of our economic infrastructure.”

The Federal Reserve Banks began shipping new nickels featuring the Peace Medal reverse (tails) design to the Nation’s financial institutions on March 1. The new nickels should begin appearing in circulation during the next several weeks.

The National Geodetic Survey has chosen to commemorate the historic partnership between the United States Mint and Lewis and Clark’s journey with these markers. A second marker will be placed at the United States Mint at Denver on Monday. The Geodetic Survey is honoring the United States Mint for its ongoing role in commemorating the Lewis and Clark expedition—from the Jefferson Peace Medals that the United States Mint produced in 1803; to the Lewis and Clark Expedition Bicentennial Commemorative Coin of 2004; and to the new Westward Journey Nickel Series.

The second coin of the Westward Journey Nickel Series, bearing a Lewis and Clark keelboat design on the reverse is expected to be released into circulation in August.

Following the ceremony, Director Fore, Undersecretary Lautenbacher, Director Challstrom and Dr. Morgan joined area officials and United States Mint personnel for a brief tour of the United States Mint at Philadelphia to see the new nickels being produced.

Created by Congress in 1792, the United States Mint is the manufacturer of legal tender coinage for the United States. In FY 2003, the United States Mint manufactured approximately 11.4 billion coins and generated gross revenue of $1.4 billion.

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