Gov. Gibbons declares coin ‘perfect’ |

Gov. Gibbons declares coin ‘perfect’

Andrew Pridgen
Appeal Staff Writer
Trevor Clark/Nevada Appeal Chief Coiner Ken Hopple shows Gov. Jim Gibbons one of the first mints of the 100-year anniversary medallion commemorating the University of Nevada, Reno's Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering at the Nevada State Museum on Monday.

The first 100-year anniversary commemorative coin for the University of Nevada, Reno’s Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering was minted at the Nevada State Museum on Monday afternoon using the museum’s restored coin press and silver exclusively drawn from a Northern Nevada mine.

Some 30 eager spectators, officials from the Coeur d’Alene Mines Corporation, UNR and Gov. Jim Gibbons were on hand to commemorate the occasion, calling the 250-coin run of the silver-dollar-sized piece with an engraved depiction of the school, “priceless.”

Jim Taranik, Ph.D., dean of the Mackay school, was on hand during the minting of the anniversary coin Monday. He said 100 years of the school will take the mining industry beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.

“In the next century, we plan on robotic mining on the moon,” he said. “Starting in 2020, we’ll build a mine on the moon, using materials from the moon’s surface.”

Dennis Wheeler, president and CEO of Coeur d’Alene Mines Corporation, whose Rochester mine in Lovelock produced the 2,500 ounces of silver needed for the coins, touted the success of the school and the mine.

“The Mackay school of mines has been a big part of our success,” he said. “The (Rochester) mine is one of the world’s greatest mines in history.”

Reno resident Ken Hopple, who volunteers at the Nevada Museum and runs the coin press, explained how pressing the Mackay coin is a highlight for him.

“Using all Nevada silver is something,” he said. “The university came up with the design and I think it’s one of the best we’ve pressed.”

As a coin came off the press – Gov. Gibbons, in a photo op, took the silver piece from Hopple turned it around in his hand for inspection and made a simple declaration:

“Perfect,” he said.