U. S. Mint Nixes Best Design Plans For Nevada Statehood Quarter

In a surprise decision the U.S. Mint ruled that there would be no images depicting scenes from Las Vegas or the Carson City Mint on the new Nevada statehood quarter.

U.S. Mint Nixes Gaming Design for Nevada Quarter

By Rusty Goe

In a surprise decision the U.S. Mint ruled that there would be no images depicting scenes from Las Vegas or the Carson City Mint on the new Nevada statehood quarter.

This decision is absent minded and filled with hypocritical overtones.

Absent minded, because excluding any symbol of the Carson City Mint on the Nevada statehood quarter is tantamount to omitting imagery of banks from references to Switzerland. The coins produced in the state's capital have brought more attention to Nevada than any other single theme except for gambling.

And that is the source of the second indictment against the Mint's decision, hypocrisy. Southern Nevada, and the state in general is known for its gaming industry. As the article states, gambling is legal in 48 states. There is no stigma attached to gambling anymore in this country, for better or worse. And it's no longer a secret, visitors flock to Las Vegas for a "fun in the sun" experience. While discretion might have once been necessary in order for tourists visiting casinos to maintain their dignity back home, the curtain has been pulled back and Las Vegas is more of a tourist attraction than the home of Mickey Mouse. Citizens of the United States have given their seal of approval for everyone to escape to "Sin City" for a weekend. A weekend in Vegas is as acceptable as a trip to the Indy 500 (Indiana quarter) or a visit to the Kentucky Derby (Kentucky quarter). Have you checked the TV listings lately? How many shows have Las Vegas in the name? And besides, "What Happens Here, Stays Here", as the ads promise.

In a classic case of contradiction, what about the cheese and dairy industry being represented on the Wisconsin statehood quarter? Are a couple of dice or a pair of cards more offensively conspicuous in their representation of an industry than a big piece of cheese at the center of a quarter? Give me a break.

If the Fed chooses not to put symbols of the Carson City Mint in northern Nevada and the casino industry in the southern half of the state, then I'm sure everyone will be able to identify just as easily with wild horses, bristle pine, bighorn sheep and snow-capped mountains. After all, these symbolic images distinguish Nevada from all other states in the Union. (I don't think so.) Ask someone from out of state, "Quick, what comes to mind when you think of Nevada?" You say your answer is, "Bighorn sheep?", "You've guessed it right! And your prize is a shrimp cocktail and a free pull on a slot machine." Wooo Hooo!

Even in the Fed's attempted diversion from the most important themes, it failed to suggest one of the most obvious alternatives. Here's a snap question, "Quick Fed, what is one of the nicknames for Nevada?" "Silver State, you say?" "Close, but try again." "You say you're stumped?" "Well let me help. How about, 'The Sagebrush State'?" "Never heard of it?" "Well, it's common knowledge in these parts."

So maybe that's what the central focus of the Nevada statehood quarter can be, a big sagebrush bush right in the middle of the coin. After all, that's all that was here, besides Indians, before Carson City became the capital and Las Vegas flexed its muscles.

Feds Say No Dice to Images of Gaming on Nevada Coin


October 2, 2004

Nevada's long-standing link to gambling won't be depicted on the state quarter that goes into circulation across the United States in January 2006.

Federal officials prohibited the use of a slot machine and other types of gambling images on the five themes his office submitted to the U. S. Mint for quarter consideration, State Treasurer Brian Krolicki said.

They couldn't even propose a Las Vegas skyline image because it would show commercial gaming businesses.

"We were told by the U. S. Mint that gaming images would not be appropriate," said Kathy Besser, deputy state treasurer.

Despite the presence of legal gambling in 48 states, Krolicki said some people strongly oppose gambling and might be offended by a Nevada gambling design.

Although he disagrees with that decision, Krolicki said none of the quarter designs for other states shows commercial enterprises.

The Tennessee quarter, however, shows a banjo, guitar and horn, symbolizing Nashville's reputation as the country music capital. And the Indiana quarter shows a race car like those used in the Indianapolis 500 auto race.

More than 500 proposals for the Nevada quarter were submitted to Krolicki, chairman of the 18-member Great Nevada Commemorative Quarter Quest advisory panel.

The preferred themes have been forwarded to the U. S. Mint, whose engravers will produce coin designs by the end of January.

Krolicki then plans to have Nevadans select the state quarter by voting for their favorite designs on the Internet and through phone calls.

"We want to leave it up to Nevadans," he said. "It is Nevada's quarter, not the treasurer's quarter. It should be a lot of fun."

Krolicki noted panelists proposed wild horse, miner, bristlecone pine, snowcapped mountain and bighorn sheep themes, along with the outline of the state.

The U. S. Mint also turned down suggestions to have the state quarter include actual silver from Nevada mines and to mint some quarters in the old U. S. Mint in Carson City.

Quarters have not contained silver since 1964. The Carson City Mint was last used in 1893. The building now houses the Nevada State Museum and holds an old coin press.

A proposal to have the Nevada quarter include a "CC" mark to represent the Carson City mint mark also was rejected.

Copyright © 2004 The Reno Gazette-Journal