150 Years of Carson City Mint

The former Carson City Mint operated from 1870 to 1899 and minted millions in gold and silver coins for the U.S. Treasury. In 1941, the building was transformed into the Nevada State Museum. Photo by Kippy Spilker/Travel Nevada.
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One hundred fifty years to the day after it pressed the first Liberty Seated silver dollars at the Carson City Mint, the very same coin press will be minting medallions in the same building in commemoration of the historic event.

It’s all part of Mint150 – the Nevada State Museum’s celebration of the sesquicentennial of the Carson City Mint. Festivities will start just before 10 a.m. on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 at the Nevada State Museum, 600 N. Carson St., Carson City. Admission is free.

It was on February 4, 1870, the Mint began producing coins from the silver and gold ore of the nearby Comstock Lode. The Mint operated until 1893, producing more than $50 million in coins.


Its coin press – now referred to as Historic Coin Press No. 1 – was the only one in the Mint for its first five years of operation. It later did service at U.S. Mints in Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver before its return to Carson City as part of the Nevada State Museum collection. The Museum has occupied the former Mint building since 1941.

Since 1976, it has produced scores of commemorative medallions. “I contend it’s the most significant and most unique coin press still in operation in the United States,” said Bob Nylen, Curator of History at the Nevada State Museum.

The engraving of the medallion celebrating the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Carson City Mint, shows the mint building and its first superintendent, Carson City founder Abe Curry. The engraving was done by retired U.S. Mint engraver Tom Rogers. Photo courtesy of Nevada State Museum.

The commemorative medallion planned for February 4 pays tribute to the Mint building; its first superintendent, Carson City founder Abe Curry; and its first press, Coin Press No. 1. They will be cast in both silver and copper and, of course, carry the famous “CC” mint mark so coveted by collectors today. Tom Rogers, a retired U.S. Mint engraver, sculpted the design for the February 4 medallion. It is the second medallion he has done for the Mint150 celebration, having sculpted the design for a replica Liberty Seated half dollar that came out in July.

The Mint Sesquicentennial medallions will sell for $75. Attendees can purchase a blank planchet and have it minted on the coin press. Mint150 is sponsored by the Nevada Mining Association, Travel Nevada and the Carson City Tourism Authority.


In this article you can read more about the history of the Carson City Mint.


On YouTube, you can find a video on the History of The Carson City Mint with Bob Nylen, Curator of History at the Nevada State Museum:


Here is Mr. Nylen again, talking about Carson Mint coin press.


If you are looking for books about the topics: We presented a book about the Carson City Morgan Dollars as well as one on the Liberty Seated Silver Coinage.