By Dennis Cassinelli

Much of the information for this article is from “The Mint on Carson Street” by Rustu Coe When ever I used to take people on tours through the Nevada State Museum, one of my favorite exhibits was the original coin press and the nearly complete collection of gold and silver Carson City coins minted there.

December, 1999 was about the time my crew and I discovered the discarded coin dies at the mint. Also, about the same time, in a staged event, Wells Fargo stagecoach pulled by four horses rumbled down Carson Street with the agent cracking his whip yelling yaahh!  Suddenly the driver pulled on the reins, bringing the cradle on the wheels to a halt in front of the old mint building. A robust guard pulled a heavy strongbox off the coach as the driver opened the door, allowing the Governor of Nevada and a Wells Fargo Bank executive to step down. At that point, the bank executive handed the strongbox to Nevada’s Governor as a symbolic gift.
This recreation of a scene from the classic days of the old West was part of a ceremony to celebrate the  donation of a nearly complete collection of Carson City coins by Wells Fargo Bank to the Nevada State Museum. Wells Fargo Bank and its predecessors had purchased the collection from the man who had assembled it, Norman H Biltz. Nearing the end of his life, Norman Biltz had been offered $100,000 for it. Rather than accept that offer, he offered to sell it to First National Bank, later to become Wells Fargo Bank for $50.000 with the following stipulations:
1) The bank would never sell the collection
2) The collection would never leave Nevada
3) The collection would be displayed on a regular Basis
Being an avid coin collector and investor, Norman Biltz put together this amazing collection of gold and silver Carson City mint coins as an investment. He was a financier and real estate statesman who played an important role in the development of Nevada, particularly of Lake Tahoe and Reno. He served on the board of trustees of the Nevada State Museum from May, 1947 to May 1948. Norman Biltz died in 1973 at the age of 71.
As agreed, the nearly complete collection of Carson City mint coins is on display for all to see in one of the vaults in the mint building near the old coin press No.1 that was used to mint many of these same coins. In other displays, in the same area, there are closeup views of the different types of coins made there. There are also some of the cancelled coin dies I had discovered at the mint in 1999.
This article is by Dayton Author and Historian, Dennis Cassinelli. You can order his books at a discount on his blog at  Just click on ”order books”