The Las Vegas Review Journal has a pair of articles this week about the striking of a medal for the Nevada Sesquicentennial. Here's an excerpt from one about the famous workhorse Carson City Mint Press No. 1.
Nevada Coin Press No. 1 is like its volunteer operator, Ken Hopple: Both just keep going and going.
“Give it a little grease and keep up with the repairs and it will last forever,” said Hopple of the antique press in the Nevada State Museum that on Friday manufactured the first of the 1,000 silver medallions commemorating Nevada’s 150th birthday celebration.
The Morgan and Orr press made coins way back in the 1870-93 period when the U.S. Mint operated in Carson City. Those coins carried the numismatic-cherished “CC” mint mark. The mint building since 1941 has housed the Nevada State Museum.
At a six-medallions-a-minute production rate, Hopple made the first medallions in front of crowd that included Gov. Brian Sandoval.
At 68, Hopple still is a full-time tool and die maker in Reno. He spends the last Friday of each month running the press to make state medallions and to talk to schoolchildren about coin-making, coins and their history.
His fee: One of each medallion that he makes.
“My work is basically like a donation to the museum,” Hopple said.
Not only did Press No. 1 make coins — at a 100-per-minute rate — in the Carson City Mint, but it also went on a long road tour to work in the mints in Philadelphia in 1899-1945 and then to the San Francisco Mint, 1945-55. It was manufactured in 1868.
It was destined for a salvage lot in San Francisco until a smart mint worker noticed it had a Virginia & Truckee Railroad plaque, a plaque placed on it when someone in the historic Carson City railroad yard repaired it in 1878.
Because of his intercession, the press was returned to Carson City — for $255 — where it was put on display in the state museum until 1964.
Then U.S. Mint Director Eva Adams, a Nevada resident, requested the press be put back in service at the Denver Mint. Three years later, after making 188 million more coins, the press was returned to Carson City. Since then, it has been making state medallions.
“It’s like old cars; it is built to last forever,” said Hopple, who talks about the press as if it were a friend.
To read the complete article, see:
1868 press used to mint Nevada anniversary coins
To read another article on the striking of the medals, see:
First Nevada 150th anniversary coin comes off the press
Wayne Homren, Editor
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