Basic information about various hobby and craft topics.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Short History of the Coin We Call the Nickel

The nickel, as we know, is worth five cents, which is half the value of a dime. This is what the coin that preceeded the nickel was called, the half disme. The "s" is silent, so the word is pronounced "dime". The half dime was made of silver and was very small, making it hard for people to use and very easy to loose. Today a nickel isn't worth much, but in the early 1800's, a nickel might represent a day's work.

So in 1866 the United States Mint began issuing nickels with a composition of 75% copper and 35% nickel. The nickels were the same size as the coin we are familiar with today, but the design was much different. The obverse featured the United States shield, the reverse a large "5" surrounded by thirteen stars which represented the original thirteen states. These coins, because of the design, proved very hard to strike. So this series of nickles was discontinued in 1883.

The Liberty, or "V", nickle began production in 1883 and continued until 1913. The obverse pictured a Liberty head surrounded by thirteen stars. The reverse had a large Roman Numeral "V". The first coins minted in this series did not have the word "Cents" on them. This nickel was the same size and design as the five dollar gold piece in use at the time. So some enterprising persons plated the coins gold, then passed them off as gold pieces. The Mint soon added the word "Cents" to stop this practice.

In 1913 the Liberty Head Nickel was replaced by the Buffalo Nickel. This coin has a buffalo on the reverse, hence the name. It also is called the Indian head nickel because of the American Indian bust shown on the obverse. This coin was minted until 1938 when it was superseded by the currently used Jefferson Nickel.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jefferson Silver War Nickel

Jefferson Silver War Nickel

During World War II nickel was needed for the war effort. So the alloy of the nickel shifted from the 75% copper and 35% nickel composition to one consisting of 56% copper, 35% silver and 9% manganese. These mint mark was moved from under Monticello to over it, and it was made very large. The Jefferson nickels minted during the war will usually have a darker look than the standard alloy. The coins were produced from 1942, 1943, 1944 and 1945.

© 2011 THC Toys, Hobbies and Crafts

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Indian Head Nickel

The Indian Head Nickel is also referred to as the Buffalo Nickel. The coin, designed by James Earle Fraser, features and Indian bust on the obverse (front) and a buffalo on the reverse. The alloy used in the Indian Head Nickel is 75% copper and 35% nickel. It was minted from 1913 until 1938 when it was replaced by the Jefferson Nickel. Three American Indian chiefs served as models for the obverse, Iron Tail, Two Moons and John Big Tree. The buffalo on the reverse was probably an American bison named Black Diamond, who resided at the Central Park Zoo in New York.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

What President Is That On The Nickel?

Since 1938 the President featured on the nickel is Thomas Jefferson. His is the second longest Presidential visage in use on United States coinage, Abraham Lincoln being the longest. The reverse of the coin shows Monticello, Jefferson's Virginia home. The composition of the nickel in its early yearswas 75% copper and 35% nickel. The composition was changed during the World War 2 period to a 56% copper, 35% silver and 9% manganese alloy. This composition was used in nickels minted in 1942, 1943, 1944 and 1945. In 1946 the nickel reverted to the prewar alloy. In honor of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which Thomas Jefferson authorized, the reverse of the coin was changed four times from 2005 - 2006. In 2006, Monticello returned to the reverse and a new, modern depiction of Jefferson made its debut.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Fermenting Wine - The Blueberry Wine

The blueberry wine made earlier this week is bubbling away. The yeast works on the sugar in the solution converting it to alcohol and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide bubbles away, leaving the alcohol behind.

Monday, August 04, 2008

How To Make Blueberry Wine - An Easy Recipe

Blueberries make and excellent wine which is very easy to make. How to make blueberry wine? Here are the ingredients:
3 - 4 pounds of blueberries
6 ounces of grape concentrate
One teaspoon of wine yeast (You may use bakers yeast, but it may impart a "bready" flavor to the finished wine.)
2 1/2 pounds of sugar.
Start the yeast ahead of time to allow it to be in full ferment when it is added to the wine must. Add one teaspoon of yeast granules to a warm 8 ounce glass of warm water in which one tablespoon of sugar has been dissolved. Then dissolve the remainder of the sugar by adding it to 1/2 gallon of boiling water. Stir until clear. When the sugar solution has cooled and the wine yeast is fermenting, you may continue the recipe. Dump the blueberries into a bowl which will hold at least one and a half gallons. Do not use metal. Use plastic, glazed ceramic or glass. A clean water bucket which has not been used with any type of cleaning solution will work. I have a two and a half gallon bucket which I used exclusively for making wine. It is used for nothing else. Use a potato masher to thoroughly crush the blueberries. Next add the grape concentrate. This will impart what is called "vinous quality" to the wine. Now add the cooled sugar solution. Top up with 3.5 quarts of lukewarm water. Then add the fermenting yeast. Cover the bowl with a loose fitting cover like a dishtowel or elastic food covers.
Allow this to stand for three to four days, stirring three or four times a day. It should start fermenting vigorously after a day or so. Next pour the blueberry slush through a plastic colander and press the residue with a potato masher, extracting most of the juice. Pour this into a gallon jar to ferment. Top up with cool water and place in a dark location which stays around sixty five to seventy degrees Fahrenheit. Use a glass jar or thoroughly cleaned plastic milk jug. Do not put the screw top on. The bottle will explode due to the pressure buildup of carbon dioxide as the yeast ferments. Place a piece of plastic food wrap over the opening and secure with a rubber band.
This blueberry wine recipe will yield a semi-sweet wine. For a sweeter wine, add a more sugar. For a dryer wine, add a bit less. You may also sweeten the wine if it is too dry by adding a bit of sugar to it when it is done fermenting.
After the wine has fermented about two to three months, it should be siphoned off, using clear plastic, food quality tubing, into a clean gallon jug. Be careful not to disturb the sediment at the bottom. It should be done fermenting by now and the screw top can be used to protect the wine. Don't turn it tight, just leave it loose for a week or so in case the wind starts to ferment again. After the blueberry wine has aged for a few months it will be ready to drink and enjoy.

This simple recipe shows you how to make blueberry wine in just a few steps.