CARSON CITY — Now there are two. Gov. Brian Sandoval pushed buttons on an 1869-vintage coin press Wednesday that applied 120 tons of pressure to a 1-ounce silver blank and created the first of the second design of state sesquicentennial medallions.
Sandoval then handed over the required $100.50 check and took home his medallion. He said that by Nevada Day Oct. 31 four different state medallions will be minted and people around the world will want to own the entire set.
Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, chairman of the Sesquicentennial Commission, hinted that he might ask Nevada’s schoolchildren to choose the design of the third medallion. He let his 11-year-old daughter, Ellie, press the second medallion after Sandoval finished his job.
As treasurer in 2005, Krolicki held a statewide contest when largely student voters chose wild horses running across the desert as the design for Nevada’s state quarter minted in 2006.
Profits raised by the sale of the $100.50 silver medallions and $15 copper medallion go to cover costs of sesquicentennial-approved events. The goal is have 150 events in Nevada’s 150th anniversary year.
The first medallion of the state seal has been purchased by nearly 2,000 people.
The second medallion shows the bearded face of a miner holding a pickax. And, as Sandoval said, he is “a handsome miner.” Already 300 of the miner medallions have been ordered.
Ken Hopple, Nevada’s official coiner, runs the old coin press for free. He made sure none of the operators in Wednesday’s ceremony lost any fingers. The only payment he receives is one each of the different medallions he makes.
He explained that Coin Press No. 1 used to sit in the U.S. government’s Carson City Mint, where it created the famous “cc” coins from 1870 to 1893. Then it later was put back to work creating hundreds of millions of coins at the Denver, Philadelphia and San Francisco mints into the 1960s. The Nevada State Museum bought the old press for $255, paid $40,000 to refurbish it and put it to work making state medallions in 1976.
The press really has returned home because the Nevada State Museum — where the mining ceremony was done — is in the building that held the Carson City Mint.
Wells Fargo Regional President Kirk Clausen pressed the third coin. His company, celebrating its 154th year in Nevada, has contributed to the sesquicentennial celebration and agreed to have its famed stagecoach at events later this year.
Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-687-3901. Follow him on Twitter @edisonvogel.