My unexpected find sent me to Wikipedia to read up on the Liberty Nickel. The Wikipedia entry says there might be a connection between the word josh, meaning to kid, and the liberty nickel:
In early 1883, the Liberty Head nickel was first struck for circulation. The first 5.4 million pieces struck contained the Roman numeral V on the reverse, but did not contain the word "CENTS". Con artists According to numismatic legend, one of the perpetrators of this fraud was a deaf-mute named Josh Tatum, whose name is allegedly the origin of the verb "joshing". Supposedly, Tatum was not convicted because, being unable to speak, he did not actually make any fraudulent verbal claims regarding the coins, but merely accepted the change handed to him by the storekeeper . This tale, however, may be apocryphal . Whatever the truth of the case, what is known is that the Mint decided to add the word "CENTS" to the reverse design of the Liberty Head nickel in the middle of the 1883 striking , and this change remained until the coin was discontinued. quickly noted this, as well as the fact that the coin was roughly the same size as a five-dollar gold coin, and began gold-plating the new nickels and attempting to pass them as gold pieces.
Well, I didn't know that.