Facts about Alaska Mint Medallions

 

 

 

It’s been more than 30 years since we struck our very first coin on December 12, 1990.  We’ve come a long way!

In the late 1970’s my father started selling silver, gold and platinum bullion at our families jewelry store, Michael’s Jewelers, in the University Center mall in midtown Anchorage. I had been working at the store and apprenticing at a manufacturing jewelry company for several years prior to that, and after I graduated high school in 1980 I went to work full time there. I was attracted to the fast pace of buying and selling precious metals, as well as older United States coinage. While attending classes at a summer seminar for the American Numismatic Association in Colorado Springs to learn about grading and authenticating U.S. coins, I took a field trip to the U.S. Mint in Denver to learn how coins are made. Having heard my father tell me stories of wanting to start the “Franklin Mint of the North”, I thought to myself, “we can do this”!  So I came home and started acquiring the equipment and tooling necessary to mint coins in my own workshop. During this same time, I had been leasing a sidewalk vendors spot in downtown Anchorage for a couple summers, and learning about Alaska’s tourism market. I loved meeting people that were visiting our city, many of whom call Alaska a “trip of a lifetime”. In the summer of 1989 I rented Anchorage’s Old City Hall on 4th Avenue and set up a store. The next year I moved my store across the street and assembled the minting equipment in an office on the lower floor. The Mint was born!

Our first coining press, shown above in the back of my pick-up truck, is a 200 ton hydraulic press that we still use today. It’s a bit slow, but very reliable and does great quality. We are all about making good quality medallions versus high quantity, we want to make some of the most beautiful coins at reasonable prices that you can collect or give to friends or loved ones.

We start with an idea, then work with one of our artist to make a sketch, after that it is sculpted out of clay and turned into the hardened steel die that is required to mint the finished coin.

Most of the medallions we mint are 1 ounce .999 fine silver, we also mint in pure gold, golden bronze, copper and nickel. They are multi-struck on one of our hydraulic presses, then packaged in an airtite container and gift box.

In addition to our own designs, we mint medallions for companies like The Alaska Railroad, White Pass & Yukon Route, Iditarod, Anchorage Fur Rendezvous and others. As well as custom work for many different individuals, groups and organizations.