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Promontory medallion

A new medallion commemorates the Nevada State Railroad Museum’s Coach 17, the only rail car still in existence that was at Promontory Summit on May 10, 1869 for the completion of the nation’s first Transcontinental Railroad. 

CARSON CITY – Carson City’s two state museums – the Nevada State Museum and Nevada State Railroad Museum – are collaborating on a project that highlights 150-year-old artifacts in both museums’ collections.

On May 18, the Nevada State Museum will fire up its 150-year-old Coin Press No. 1 for the first public minting of a medallion that commemorates the Nevada State Railroad Museum’s Coach 17 – the only rail car still in existence that was present at the completion of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad at Promontory Summit in Utah.

The medallion minting, which starts at noon, is another in a series of “Mint150” programs taking place at the Nevada State Museum as it celebrates the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Branch Mint in Carson City. Coin Press No. 1 was the first coin press in the Carson City Mint and it produced millions in gold and silver coins in its heyday.

The 30 mm, .999 fine silver medallion features an image of Coach 17 with the words “Promontory Car, Transcontinental Railroad, 1869-2019 and an image of a railroad spike. The event at Promontory in 1869 featured the ceremonial driving of golden and silver spikes to mark the joining of the Central and Union Pacific railroad lines.

The day’s program also includes a special tour of the Mint Building, where participants can learn where various mint functions actually took place, including a behind-the-scenes look at a few of the building’s nooks and crannies usually off limits to the public. A pair of hour-long tours are planned, one at 10 a.m. and another at 1:30 p.m.

At 11 a.m., a Chautauqua presentation will feature Cindy Southerland as she takes on the persona of Annie H. Martin.

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In 1908, Martin went to work for the U.S. Federal Assay Office in Carson City (formerly the U.S. Mint and now the Nevada State Museum). She quickly rose through the ranks and was appointed by President Warren G. Harding as the Superintendent in 1921. She was the first woman in the United States to be appointed as a superintendent of a United States Assay Office.

After the Nevada State Museum events, visitors can head to the Nevada State Railroad Museum where Coach 17 is the centerpiece of the new exhibit “The Transcontinental Railroad: What a Difference It Made.”

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