Three Cent Nickel — Obverse (Front) Side

1875 Three Cent Nickel

The design of the three cent nickel is simple but elegant, a testament to James Barton Longacre’s talent and long experience as an engraver and illustrator.

  • The main element on the obverse is Lady Liberty, who represents the United States. She is rendered in the style of ancient Greek and Roman statues — a style that was very popular on U.S. coins in the 1800’s.
  • Lady Liberty is in profile, facing left and wearing a beaded coronet (a small crown) inscribed with the word “LIBERTY.” Longacre was well-known for his skill in engraving hair and wreaths, and his Lady Liberty has long, beautifully flowing hair.

Buffalo Nickel — Obverse (Front) Side

1937 Buffalo Nickel

  • According to James Earle Fraser, the designer of the Buffalo Nickel, the profile that almost fills the obverse side was a composite intended to suggest a type, not a portrait of any one man.
  • The face of the Native American is intended to be realistic and was a departure from the stylized, very European-looking Native Americans of most past coins.

Peace Dollar — Obverse (Front) Side

1922 Peace Dollar

  • The profile on the obverse (front) side of the coin is Lady Liberty. The spiked crown that she wears is purposely reminiscent of the crown worn by the Statue of Liberty.
  • The word “LIBERTY” stretches above Lady Liberty’s head, passing behind the spikes of her crown.

Morgan Silver Dollar — Obverse (Front) Side

1878 Morgan Silver Dollar

  • The profile on the obverse (front) side of the coin is Lady Liberty. Her liberty cap includes a ribbon inscribed with the word “LIBERTY” and two cotton blossoms and two heads of wheat to represent American agriculture.
  • The thirteen stars around the border represent the original thirteen colonies at the time of the American Revolution.
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