Analyzing gold, silver at the Carson City Mint |

Analyzing gold, silver at the Carson City Mint

Nevada Appeal staff report
The Carson City Mint was once a U.S. Assaying Office.
Nevada State Museum

The Carson City Mint has produced coins bearing the famed CC mint mark, but it also served as a U.S. Assaying Office.

At 11 a.m. Saturday, the Nevada State Museum’s monthly Mint 150 program presents Paul Franklin speaking on Carson City Mint assayers and their role in analyzing and refining gold and silver. Franklin, a retired semiconductor industry executive and frequent lecturer at Stanford University, is the author of “Anatomy of an Ingot,” which follows the careers of three mining engineers and assayers who figured significantly in Nevada’s early silver mining boom, and he also speaks locally on history topics.

Seven U.S. mints were established by Congress to receive, analyze and refine the gold and silver from the various mining districts. They were authorized to coin the metals to meet the monetary needs of a growing nation. However, the U.S. mints were not enough to meet all the local mining output, so the government approved eight more dedicated regional assay offices that analyzed and purified the precious metals but didn’t produce coinage. The Carson City Mint was the last mint to be established and even after halting coinage operations continued as a U.S. assay office. In his talk, Franklin takes a close look at the operations of assaying, refining and coining of our metallic money.

The Nevada State Museum is celebrating the sesquicentennial of the Carson City Mint next year with a regular program held on the third Saturday of each month on a different topic of the mint’s history, followed by a demonstration of Coin Press No. 1. Museum visitors can purchase a silver blank in the museum store for $60 and see it minted on the historic machine. On Saturday, the museum will continue to mint the popular USS Nevada medallion from noon to 4 p.m. Also, curator Bob Nylen will lead 1870 mint building tours at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The cost is regular admission, free for members and children under 17. Coeur Rochester, Inc. is a sponsor of the Nevada State Museum’s Mint 150 Celebration.