Although Silver Half Dimes were the first Five-Cent coins, due to the continued hoarding of silver and gold coins during the Civil War, this caused a tremendous need for circulating coinage. The first Nickel Five-Cent Piece was created in 1866. The Shield Nickel was produced from 1866 through 1883 with an Obverse design similar to that of the Two Cent Piece.
In 1883 the design was changed to the Liberty Head which was produced from 1883 through 1913.
Following the Liberty Head Nickel, was the Indian Head or, more commonly referred to as, the Buffalo Nickel. The Buffalo Nickel was minted from 1913 through 1938, and continues to be very popular with collectors due to its artistic merit.
After 25 years, the design of the Nickels was changed to feature an image of Third United States President, Thomas Jefferson. During 1942 through 1945, the Wartime Silver Alloy was introduced to eliminated the use of nickel, which became a critical war material. To indicate the change in alloy, a larger mint mark was placed about the dome of Monticello. This would be the first time the letter “P” was used in a design for the Philadelphia Mint. Apart from a few changes with initials and mint marks, the design itself remained unchanged until 2004 for the Westward Journey Nickel Series from 2004 through 2005. Following the honoring of the Westward Journey, the Mint returned to a modified design with a revised Jefferson portrait and Monticello reverse which has been used from 2006 to present date.