By Hubert Walker for CoinWeek ….
Carson City Mint 150th Anniversary
On June 26, 2018, U.S. Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV2) introduced a bill to Congress authorizing the United States Mint to produce commemorative coins honoring the 150th anniversary of the Carson City Mint. The Carson City Mint 150th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act of 2018 (H.R. 6221) provides for a maximum of 100,000 $5 gold coins and 500,000 silver $1 coins to be issued in 2020.
Surcharges for the program are typical for such legislation: $35 for the gold coin and $10 for the silver. All proceeds from the sale of the coins (minus production and marketing expenses) will go to the Nevada State Museum Dedicated Trust Fund. The fund supports the operations and work of the Nevada State Museum, which has been located at the former Carson City Mint facility since the museum was founded in 1939.
Designs for the coin will be “emblematic” of the branch mint and its place in Nevada and U.S. history. In addition to the usual review process that involves the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC), and the Nevada State Museum Dedicated Trust Fund will consult with the Secretary of the Treasury concerning the final design.
The Carson City Mint was established by Congress in 1863 to refine and coin the silver coming out of the famous Comstock Lode, where one of the largest veins of silver ore in American history had been discovered just years before. The Civil War precluded actual construction of the mint until 1866, by which time Nevada had become a state (1864). Abraham Curry, the first superintendent of the Carson City Mint, oversaw construction of Alfred B. Mullet’s Renaissance Revival-style brick building.
Producing silver and gold coins, the Carson City Mint began striking coins on February 11, 1870, when the first CC-mint Seated Liberty silver dollars came off Press No. 1. It closed temporarily in 1885, a victim of party politics in Washington, but reopened in late 1889. The facility operated for almost another four years until it closed for good in 1893. Carson City’s status as an official branch mint was rescinded in 1899 – around the time that the Comstock Lode itself stopped producing. It served as an assay office until 1933, and was sold to the state in 1939 as the home of the newly founded Nevada State Museum.
During its time as a U.S. branch mint, the Carson City facility struck Seated Liberty dimes, Twenty Cent pieces, Seated Liberty quarters, half dollars and dollars, Trade dollars, and Morgan dollars in silver, and Liberty Head $5 half eagles, $10 eagles and $20 double eagles in gold. Several issues from Carson City are considered key dates for their series, such as the 1879-CC Morgan dollar, the 1870-CC Seated Liberty quarter, or the 1870-CC half eagle.
But in general, coins from Carson City–with their connection to the “Old West”–have always held a strong allure for collectors. Honoring the Mint itself with a commemorative coin program would surely make many coin collectors happy.
Besides, there is precedent for such a commemorative. In 2006, the United States Mint issued a silver dollar and a $5 gold coin to commemorate the centennial of the San Francisco Mint. The “Granite Lady”, as the old mint is known, was also designed by architect Mullet.
The widget below (courtesy of govtrack.us) will update as the bill progresses through Congress:
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