Featured Nevada State Museum Visit - Fremont, Coins and the Comstock Lode

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by CircCam, May 13, 2019.

  1. CircCam

    CircCam Well-Known Member

    Visited the Nevada State Museum today- a quality facility and well worth a visit. My favorites were the John C. Fremont and Comstock Lode exhibits... as they featured some coinage, I figured I’d share:

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    John C. Fremont (1813-1890) was an American explorer, soldier, writer and politician. His explorations, botanical findings and topographical contributions in the American West had tremendous influence on US history. Maps made based on his expeditions enabled pioneers to better traverse the frontier, helped miners to locate gold regions when the California Gold Rush began, and much more. (More on him here.)

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    His Colt .44 was just impressive. The “Grand Luminary” flag, made in 1856 when he ran as the first Republican candidate for President carried a star pattern that was a visual interpretation of the then national motto, E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One.) The Mountain Howitzer cannon is there to represent one abandoned by his party in the Winter of 1844 in the Sierra Nevada mountains, which treasure hunters still search for to this day. The real cannon was lugged across the country for this “peaceable” expedition as protection against hostiles (*Of note- his superiors tried to recall him to DC upon learning he brought it, but he had already left), though it is suspected that Fremont was secretly carrying out reconnaissance to aid in the eventual annexation of California from Mexico.

    Now, the coins:
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    Shown and labeled here are coins that were recovered and attributed to the Second Expedition (1843-1844) whose goal was to map the second half of the Oregon Trail. I found it an interesting group, and was surprised at the number of British coppers before learning that they had stopped at British Fort Vancouver for supplies in November 1843.

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    Some commemoratives were also on display, as well as an original copy of his autobiography and his sword, which were impressive:

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    Next, the Comstock Lode (more here) which triggered an 1859 Silver rush in then Western Utah Territory, present day Nevada. We have this lode to thank for our CC coins today, as the Carson City mint was created to facilitate minting of coinage from silver mined from it. This rush drew thousands of prospectors to the area and had a tremendous impact on Western expansion in this region.

    The coins in this section left a lot to be desired, (Some choice CC Coinage would really add a LOT to this section.) but there was still eye candy to behold in the form of a big block full of Barite Crystals:

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    All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this glimpse into the history of the region. Knowing John C. Fremont and company had stopped exactly where I was today at the Springs Preserve where the museum stands added to the experience.

    Now, on to the Las Vegas Numismatic Society Coin Show this week to find some treasure myself. :)
     
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  3. fretboard

    fretboard Defender of Old Coinage!

    I love the Colt .44 and the cannon! The coinage is very cool too but I actually owned a Colt .44 when I was a young whipper snapper so it holds a special memory for me! :D Sounds like you had a great visit. Good for you!! :D
     
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  4. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Fremont ran for president twice. The first time, in 1856, he was the first Republican presidential candidate. Like all 19th century presidential candidates, who had military records, he made that one of the centerpieces of his campaign. Here is the most attractive 1856 Fremont piece which shows the U.S. Capital in the background and Fremont in the foreground as an explorer.

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    This second piece is the most explicit “issues oriented” token the Fremont campaign issued in 1856. “Free soil,” “free speech” and “free labor” were all referring to the slavery issue to one degree or another. Fremont was an abolitionist, and that position was not popular one in the South, and to a lesser extent the North.

    Fremont lost to James Buchanan who turned out to be the worst president in history according to many historians. Unfortunately events during the Civil War would prove that Fremont was probably not the best choice for president either. His somewhat brief time as military leader in Missouri was marked by corruption and mismanagement.

    Fremont made a second presidential run in 1864. His was the candidate of the Radical Republicans who were dissatisfied with Lincoln. Here is his “bragging medal” where his accomplishments are highlighted. The statement that he got the best of “Stonewall” Jackson on the battlefield was what one might call a “tall tale.”

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    Fremont withdrew from the race in September before the election. He was getting heat from Republican leaders that his candidacy might split the vote and throw the election to Democrat George McClellan.
     
  5. CircCam

    CircCam Well-Known Member

  6. chascat

    chascat Well-Known Member

    Several years back I toured the Museum and was captivated by the complete Gold CC coinage display in very high grade...I wonder if it's still on display? Also enjoyed the Northern Nevada Coin Shop across the street...a Museum in and of itself.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
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  7. Bert Gedin

    Bert Gedin Well-Known Member

    To CircCam. Thanks for the Nevada Museum report - Honor to Whom Honor is Due.
     
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  8. CircCam

    CircCam Well-Known Member

    I would have been all over both of those... I went to the one in Vegas. Here for work and not going to have the time to drive to Carson City to check that one out, but will do down the road for sure. Thanks for the heads up
     
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  9. chascat

    chascat Well-Known Member

    The Museum is the actual old Carson City Mint you know...The #1 steam press still operates and is run from time to time. Well worth the visit, and the Comstock Mines in Virginia City are close by.
     
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