SIDNEY — “A limited number of Shelby County bicentennial silver coins are being minted and will be available in time for Christmas,” Bicentennial Committee chairman Mike Barhorst announced Monday, Nov. 26.
The .999 fine silver coins are being minted by Osborne Coinage of Cincinnati. They will be available for purchase at a cost of $40 each beginning Dec. 17.
The coins were designed by Mary Beth Monnier, president of Creative Marketing Strategies, with input from the Bicentennial Committee. The initial order was for 250 coins.
“We wanted to utilize the graphics from the bicentennial logo in the coin design, at least as much as you can fit on a 1.54-inch coin,” Shelby County Commissioner Bob Guillozet said. “The obverse of the coin contains the year of the county’s founding (1819) and the year of the bicentennial celebration (2019). In addition, it contains the four words that the committee determined best represent the county: freedom, families, farms and industry.
“The reverse side of the coin contains the names of Shelby County’s current villages and lone city, as well as stylized images for families, freedom, farms and industry,” Guillozet said. “Freedom is represented by Shelby County’s flag; families, by a mother, father and children; farms, by a barn and industry, by three interconnecting gears. Mary Beth did a great job of taking our ideas and creating a coin that will still have meaning 200 years from now!”
“We received sample coins from several private mints,” Barhorst noted. “After looking at the samples, we selected Osborne Coinage and having received the proof coins. I know that I speak for Bob when I say that we were more than pleased. We were amazed that we were able to read the names of Shelby County’s communities on a coin that size. The detail is amazing!”
Osborne Coinage is the oldest private mint is America. Headquartered in Cincinnati, the company traces its roots to 1835. In addition to producing coins for a host of events over the years, Osborne produced coins for nine presidential campaigns, including those of Abraham Lincoln, U.S. Grant and Franklin Roosevelt.
During World War II, the Office of Price Commission asked Osborne to make food ration tokens. With more than 1,000 skilled employees working 24-hour shifts, the company manufactured 5 billion red and blue fiber tokens — as many as 80 million a day — to make change for ration stamps, thus saving coinage metals for the war effort.
Shelby County’s near year-long bicentennial celebration will begin April 1.
“Believe it or not, Shelby County was ‘born’ on April Fools Day in 1819,” Barhorst noted. “Originally, the land that became Shelby County was part of what was once a much larger Miami County. Indeed, Shelby County, too, was originally much larger than it is today. As the population of Ohio grew and new counties were organized, Auglaize County was created from part of what was once a much larger Shelby County.”
Plans are underway for the bicentennial’s opening celebration. That celebration will be on Courthouse Square. It is expected that the schedule of events that are planned for each month will be announced in early January.
The initial run of coins will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Order forms can be downloaded from the Sidney-Shelby County Chamber of Commerce web site at www.sidneyshelbychamber.com or picked up at the Shelby County Commissioner’s Office, Sidney City Hall, the Ross Historical Center, Mutual Federal Savings Bank and Peoples Federal Savings and Loan.