Buffalo Nickel

QUESTION:  The study of coins is called what?
A)  Phillumeny
B)  Numismatics
C)  Cartography
D)  Vexillology
ANSWER BELOW

The American Treasure Tour provides our visitors with countless potential stories with the different collections we have on display. There is simply not enough time in a day to discuss them all, which is why the blog is devoted to delving deeper into the pieces and the people who created them. Our greatest challenge is that we only have a 100,000 square foot space in which to show off the collections.  There is simply not enough room to show everything. One piece we have not yet placed that is pretty amazing is a seven foot-tall sign advertising the Buffalo Nickel Nickel Arcade. Once we have its permanent location, we will be able to plug it in and get its lights going.  Until then, we will offer you a teaser - a photograph and a brief story about the buffalo nickel that inspired the arcade. As regular visitors to the blog know, everything has a story!

We have not seen much dramatic change to American coinage in the last five or six decades. Lincoln is on the penny, Jefferson is on the nickel, Franklin Roosevelt the dime and Washington the quarter. Sure, there have been limited release alterations, like the state quarters and presidential dollars, but otherwise they have looked essentially the same for as long as the general public is concerned during our lifetime. Not always the case. The five cent piece, or nickel, has been part of our currency since the 1790's, in other words shortly after we became an independent country. At first, it was issued in paper currency. When base metals (non-precious) started being used, nickels had shield designs on them. Then the Liberty Head nickel was created. In 1913, a movement began to make coinage actually attractive and the Buffalo nickel was introduced. For twenty-five years, nickels had an image of a buffalo (or American bison to be technical) on one side, a Native American on the other. The man who designed the new nickel was James Earle Fraser, a Minnesotan born in 1876 whose father had been part of the expedition to recover the remains of General George Custer's 7th Cavalry that same year. The younger Fraser encountered many Native Americans in his lifetime, and he developed a sympathy for the once-proud warriors forced to exist on reservations. His best-known work is a sculpture entitled End of the Trail (shown here). Perhaps not as closely associated with him, but more familiar to Americans in the early twentieth century is his buffalo nickel. It was retired in 1938 and replaced with the Jefferson head nickel used without change until 2004. Jefferson is still on the nickel today, he just looks a little different....

ANSWER:  B)  Numismatics.  Phillumeny is the collecting of matchbooks, cartography is the study of maps, and vexillology is the study of flags.