Pressed into history, Nevada joins ranks of quartered states: 3,500 turn out at Capitol for first chance at wild-horse-themed coin
CARSON CITY – It was an inauguration of sorts as more than 3,500 people gathered to watch Nevada become a part of history.
The Tuesday morning event marked the unveiling of the Nevada quarter, the 36th in the series of state quarters being issued by the U.S. Mint.
“It’s a beautiful coin. It is a work of art and you should be very proud of it,” said David Lebryk, acting director of the U.S. Mint. “Today Nevada becomes a historic part of U.S. coinage.”
At a chilly ceremony on the Capitol steps, Lebryk, along with state Treasurer Brian Krolicki of Stateline and Gov. Kenny Guinn, added Nevada’s quarter to the map of those already released.
The Nevada quarter, titled “Morning in Nevada,” features three wild horses running in front of the mountains flanked on each side by sagebrush with the “The Silver State” draped across the bottom of the coin. More than 60,000 votes were cast for one of five designs in May 2005.
The ceremony included a blessing by Andy Allen, a Paiute elder, and an appearance by Mark Twain, as portrayed by MacAvoy Lane.
“Wild Horses, one end bites and the other end kicks. Perfect for Nevada,” Twain said.
Members of the Pony Express delivered the first batch of quarters to the podium on horseback to end the 45-minute ceremony.
The ceremony was stopped briefly when 7-year-old Kate Krolicki, the treasurer’s daughter and a member of the committee that selected the designs for the quarter, fell off the back of the Pony Express horse she was riding on. Kate was not hurt in the incident.
Adjacent to the Capitol, the governor and treasurer handed out new quarters and plastic piggy banks to all the children in attendance. Susan Burns was first in line to get one for her 2-year-old son Clark.
“It’s just a historic event and I wanted something significant for his future,” Clark said.
Those in attendance could also buy $10 rolls of the new quarter and buy a $5 commemorative quarter set. The set included two never-circulated quarters, one each from the mints in Denver and Philadelphia and the date of the unveiling.
All 3,000 of commemorative sets made as a fundraiser for the Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs, Division of Museums and History, were sold. The department is considering another run of the sets.
Monica Acunia of Reno waited in line more than an hour to get the two-coin set and was proud that the wild horses were selected.
“I voted for the mustangs because of Virginia City, they are everywhere up there and I think it fits,” Acunia said.
The U.S. Postal Service was also on hand with a special stamp cancellation commemorating the unveiling. Residents can go to the Main Post Office, located at 1111 S. Roop St., during normal business hours for the next 30 days and get the cancellation that will still read Jan. 31.
Rusty Goe, co-owner Southgate coins and author of the book “The Mint on Carson Street,” said the state quarter program has given a tremendous shot in the arm to coin collecting and the Mint.
“The popularity of coin collecting has reached zenith heights. This program allows a 5-year-old kid to get involved and have an adventure. He can get involved in the chase and can look through his change every day searching,” Goe said.
Goe also said that because of the large amount of circulated state quarters, they will most likely not go up in value, however proof and silver proof sets will.
“The circulated state quarters, because they are being produced in quantities of a half billion or more, will never be worth more. The quantity prevents them from becoming more valuable if they are in circulation,” he said. “Now the proof sets, those have a chance to appreciate because they are part of a set.”
For example, the 1999 silver proof sets, the first year the state quarter program was introduced, have gone up considerably in value. The set cost $35 in 1999 and is now valued at $375. The regular proof sets from 1999 could have been purchased for $20 and are now valued at $75.
The Nevada quarters will now be available at all banks later this week.
As for the first quarter, Twain and Krolicki flipped for it and the coin landed with the wild horses facing up. Krolicki has it.
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