The 1989 medallion, the first year of the series, features a polar bear on the ice overlooking the Arctic Ocean, and has a total mintage of 1700 Proof 1 oz Silver and Gold Relief combined.
In the mid-1980’s I introduced the idea of an Official State Medallion to my State Representative, someone in Fairbanks was doing the same thing and in 1989 the Official Alaska State Medallion project was written into law. Each year there is a design contest for Alaska residents to design the obverse of the medallion, the Seal of the State of Alaska is always used on the reverse. A company in Anchorage called Alaska Precious Metals won the first contract from 1989 thru 1991, having the coins struck at a private mint in Oregon. In 1992 we were awarded the contract and the coins have been struck at our facility in downtown Anchorage ever since. At that time our company name was The Anchorage Mint, a few years later we changed our name to Alaska Mint.
The medallions are minted in both pure gold and pure silver in many different sizes. The 1 oz. proof silver has been the most actively collected over the years so we try to keep these in stock and available for collectors.