Dayton mint draws hundreds for Harley coin
By Rob Sabo
striking of a commemorative coin for
Harley-Davidson owners on Wednesday drew a host
of Nevada dignitaries and legions of motorcycle
owners from around the country to the Northwest
Territorial Mint in Dayton.
Capitalizing on the tradition of military
“challenge” coins and Nevada's rich history in
minting coins, Northwest Territorial Mint struck
a coin for Harley Owners Group members. More
than 500 motorcycle enthusiasts, the majority of
them retracing the Pony Express route from St.
Joseph, Mo., to San Francisco, descended on the
mint's 118,000-square-foot facility to get their
The coin features the official Harley Owners
Group logo on one side and the HOG shield on the
other. Edge detail includes the words, “Pony
Express Ride 2009.” HOG members — which number
more than 1.2 million — are supposed to carry
the coin with them at all times. If another HOG
member challenges them to produce the coin, the
HOG member must either show the coin or buy a
round of drinks or a meal.
The 1.75-inch-diameter high-relief coin retails
for $12 on the HOG Web site.
“It is going to be essential, just like in the
military,” said Ross Hansen, owner of Northwest
Territorial Mint. “You gotta keep your coin on
Gov. Jim Gibbons, as well as members of the Lyon
County Board of Commissioners, the Nevada
Commission on Economic Development and Northern
Nevada Development Authority also were on hand.
Gibbons is a former Harley-Davidson owner.
“The minting of this Harley-Davidson coin
typifies a symbol of respect for motorcycle
riding and the tradition that is so unique to
Harley-Davidson,” Gibbons said. “It shows the
dedication the people who go on these rides
have. Harley-Davidson has been a part of the
history of this country for a long time and has
such a loyal fan base.
“The re-enactment of the Pony Express Ride and
Northwest Territorial Mint minting a coin brings
together the history of Nevada and the minting
of coins in Nevada.”
Benny Suggs, general manager of the Harley
Owners Group/Rider Services, said the coin
serves as a tangible reminder of the nearly
2,000 miles riders logged retracing the route of
the Pony Express Trail.
“This is something they can take with them and
hopefully remember as one of the most rewarding
experiences they have had,” Suggs said. “And if
they see one of their friends on the ride, the
challenge is always there for a beverage, or
lunch, or whatever the treat might be. It is
about riding, and it is about fun.”
Jeff Wisch, a Harley-Davidson rider from
Manassas, Va., already logged more than 3,500
miles one way to reach Dayton, his first trip to
“It is pretty exciting,” Wisch said about the
Northwest Territorial Mint acquired Medallic Art
Company several months ago and still is in the
process of relocating operations from its former
headquarters in Auburn, Wash. The company
employs 150 people at a 45,000-square-foot
facility just outside of Seattle. Hansen, who
expects to keep only 15 people at the Auburn
facility, said the move has been challenging.
“Any time you are trying to move 150 jobs and
technical people from Seattle to here, and get
another group of people hired here, there is a
lot of work. But the good news is that everyone
has been very accommodating and willing to work
with us to make the move work for us and for the
state of Nevada.”
Gibbons said that the addition of Northwest
Territorial Mint helps diversify the area's
economic job base.
“They are bringing with them high-tech jobs and
a new type of economy that is historic for
Nevada. We have the Carson City Mint, and now we
have the Northwest Territorial Mint,” he said.