US Coins

Former Carson City Mint in Nevada celebrates its 150th anniversary

An audience estimated at more than 500 people crowded into a tent outside the former Carson City Mint in Nevada Feb. 4 to mark the facility’s 150th anniversary before moving inside to strike commemorative silver medals on the Mint’s first coin press.

The former Branch Mint currently houses the Nevada State Museum.

U.S. Mint Director David J. Ryder addressed the crowd.

“The Carson City Mint holds a special place in the United States Mint’s history,” Ryder said. “Some of our most beautiful coins were produced here, including the iconic Morgan silver dollar, which is still popular with collectors today. 

“I am proud to acknowledge the people who worked here and the important role the facility played in the community.”

The Proof half-ounce .999 fine silver commemorative medal was designed by Nevada State Museum Director Myron Freedman and sculpted by retired U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Thomas D. Rogers Sr., who was in attendance to autograph the display cards into which the plastic-capsuled medals were secured.  

The obverse of the medal depicts Coin Press #1, while on the reverse is an image of the Carson City Mint building and a portrait of the facility’s founder and first superintendent, Abraham Curry.

Freedman said approximately 500 of the 30-millimeter medals were struck Feb. 4 after ceremony participants paid the requisite $75 to secure an unstruck planchet.

Several hundred more medals were expected to be struck Feb. 5, 6 and 7 for visitors, Freedman said.

As part of the 150th anniversary celebration, in August 2019, Coin Press #1 struck .999 fine silver 30-millimeter replicas of the 1870-CC Seated Liberty half dollar. On the advice of consultants, the decision was made during planning to reduce the diameter of the medals to be struck on the press, from dollar size to half dollar size, and to reduce striking pressure, all to decrease undue stress on the aged machinery and its parts, Freedman said. 

A U.S. half dollar is 30.61 millimeters in diameter, while a standard silver dollar measures 38.10 millimeters.

Freedman said the museum is also striking copper medals on the press Feb. 8 and 9, to be handed out free to youths visiting the museum.

The copper medal will depict the Carson City Mint and Curry design on its obverse, while its reverse with feature the Nevada state  seal, according to Freedman.

Freedman said he spoke briefly with Ryder about the U.S. Mint’s consideration to strike at the museum a 2021-CC Morgan dollar in .9999 fine gold to mark the centennial of the transition from the Morgan to Peace dollar designs. Freedman said plans are still being ironed out before final approval  can be granted. If approved, production would be executed on a coinage press trucked from either the Denver or Philadelphia Mint.

After serving in circulating coinage production at the Carson City Mint from 1870 until 1893, Coin Press # 1 served the nation’s coinage needs into the second half of the 20th century, minting coins at the Denver and Philadelphia Mints before returning to Carson City for display and striking occasional commemorative medals.

Ceremony participants included Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall, U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, State Treasurer Zach Conine, Carson City Mayor Robert Crowell, the museum’s curator of history, Robert Nylen, and Freedman. 

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