Sandoval strikes Nevada 150 coin, strikes safe note on UNR-UNLV

Ken Hopple, chief coiner for the Nevada Coin Press No. 1, mints the sesquicentennial medallion on Friday at the Nevada State Museum.

Ken Hopple, chief coiner for the Nevada Coin Press No. 1, mints the sesquicentennial medallion on Friday at the Nevada State Museum.

Gov. Brian Sandoval pressed a two-sided coin and received Nevada 150 medallion he made Friday, then declined to take sides going into Saturday’s Nevada football game.

When another coin gets tossed at the start of the University of Nevada, Reno, football game against the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, according to the governor, he will be there. But the side he took was the safe one politically, joshing with a non-answer to a question about the UNR-UNLV tilt posed to him after the sesquicentennial coin-striking ceremony at the Nevada Museum and old U.S. Mint in Carson City.

“I’ve got friends on this side,” he said, gesturing one way. With a gesture the other way, he added: “I’ve got friends on this side. And I’m rootin’ for my friends.”

The governor and Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, one of the trio striking and receiving coins from the press in front of the news media and other onlookers, also took note of a more somber event earlier in the week. They briefly mentioned in their remarks, without dwelling on specifics, the school shootings in Sparks Monday that claimed two lives and wounded two students. The governor mentioned it obliquely in talking about the game.

“This is part of the healing process,” he said.

But the morning talk dwelled more on the museum, the commemorative coins and the kickoff of a Nevada 150 gala that officially began with a governor’s dinner Thursday night, continued Friday morning at the old Mint, and will really take impetus with Saturday’s Nevada Day Parade in Carson City preceding that afternoon football game in Reno. The Nevada 150 festivities all year lead up to the sesquicentennial in October 2014.

Krolicki, the official head of the commission spearheading the yearlong celebration of statehood, said medallions from the mint’s historic press No. 1 are each being made from an ounce of Nevada silver and sell for $100.50.

“It’s a great collector’s item,” said Krolicki, “but it’s also a way to fund our (commission-backed) activities.” He said copper medallions also will be struck and sold for $15.

Silver for the coins was donated by Coeur Rochester Mine of Coeur Rochester, Lovelock, and Luke Russell represented that private company to strike and receive the third medallion. Ken Hopple, volunteer chief coiner, helped the three men strike their coins. He said the first five are called coiner’s proofs and aren’t numbered, and would go to him, Sandoval, Krolicki, Russell and the state museum.


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