Carson City Mint celebrates 150th anniversary Tuesday

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It is one thing to study history; it is another witness it.

Visitors to the Nevada State Museum in Carson City on Tuesday will find themselves in history’s front row as the museum celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Carson City Mint. Just as it did 150 years earlier to the day, the Mint’s Coin Press No. 1 will be pressing silver coins, complete with the famous “CC” mint mark.

U.S. Mint Director David Ryder will join Gov. Steve Sisolak, U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei and other state officials at the museum, 600 N. Carson St., which has occupied the original mint building since 1941. Admission is free.

The schedule includes the minting of a special sesquicentennial medallion, tours of the mint building a buffet lunch and the cutting of the sesquicentennial cake.

“Nevada is unique in so many ways, and its land, towns and cultures are full of stories that bear that out,” said Myron Freedman, director of the Nevada State Museum. “This historic Mint, with its original coin press still operating inside, is like none other on Earth, and it is right here in Carson City. It is a portal into another time, and we are so lucky to be here now when we can step through to see and touch time 150 years past.”

Festivities start at 9:30 a.m. with a band playing music in front of the building. Carson City Sheriff’s will block off one lane of Carson Street in front of the mint. Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell will deliver opening remarks at 9:50 a.m. and then activities move inside the building for the first strikes of the sesquicentennial medallion on Coin Press No. 1.

At 11 a.m., the event moves outside to a tented area in the museum’s parking lot for a program that culminates with a keynote address from Ryder.

Coin Press No. 1 will begin minting medallions for the public at noon. Visitors can begin buying medallions starting at 8:30 a.m. in the museum store. They will receive a ticket for a planchet that will be minted on the coin press starting at noon. The cost is $75 for the 30 mm .999 fine silver medallion.

A buffet lunch will be served on the Dema Guinn Concourse at noon, followed by the cutting of the sesquicentennial cake at 1 p.m.

The Carson City Mint operated from 1870 to 1893, producing nearly $50 million (face value) of gold and silver coins, including gold double eagles ($20) and eagles ($10), half eagles ($5), silver dollars, half dollars, quarters, dimes and 20-cent pieces. Carson City is one of only eight cities in U.S. history to have a U.S. Mint.

“I’ve always said, you can’t say ‘made in Nevada’ any better than having a coin with the Carson City Mint Mint mark,” said Rusty Goe, a coin expert and author of two books on the Carson City Mint. “The CCs on the back. Was such a privilege for the state of Nevada to have a coinage mint. One of the highest acts of patronage that a state could receive.”

Coin Press No. 1 was the only one in the Mint for its first five years of operation. It later did service at U.S. Mints in Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver before its return to Carson City as part of the Nevada State Museum collection. Since 1976, it has produced scores of commemorative medallions.

“I contend it’s the most significant and most unique coin press still in operation in the United States,” said Bob Nylen, curator of history at the Nevada State Museum.

Today, coins with the CC Mint mark are highly prized by collectors and among the most valuable in the collecting world.

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