The 5 cent piece quickly became known as the “Racketeer Nickel” because there was a group of people that gold plated the coins and passed them off as five dollar gold coins.
One of the most famous of people to gold plate the coins is a man by the name of Josh Tatum. Josh would walk into a store and purchase an item for 5 cents. He then would pay with the gold plated fake. Sometimes Josh would get $4.95 in change, and sometime he wouldn’t if the clerk knew what the actual denomination of the coin really was.
He then would leave with his purchase, and the striking thing about the entire thing was the fact that Josh did not say a single word throughout the entire transaction.
Why? It is believed that Josh was a deaf mute.
The law finally caught up to Mr. Tatum, and promptly arrested and tried him for fraud. The charges could not stick against him because of the fact that he did not say a single word when the purchase was being made, so it was up to the clerk to decide if the coin was worth 5 cents or 5 dollars.
Some people even attribute the phrase “Just Joshing you” to this story.