83-year-old Jim Sappington from Kalispell started minting a series of unique coins depicting the historic landmarks and natural wonders of Montana. Jim had been working as a Realtor for the last 43 years and decided to do something different to honour Montana, three years back.
He discovered a style of coins with frosted, shining contrast produced by a mint in Indiana. Later, he started working on a theme for the series. He looked at different photos and ideas and finally selected some designs. After the design was accepted by the mint, Jim had to wait for his turn. A mock version of the design was created on lead. A stronger template was made to imprint the design onto 1-ounce silver coins. The obverse features the Flathead County Courthouse circa 1910 and the reverse features the Flathead Lake and valleys.
As soon as the first batch of coins were out, more than one-third of them were sold. He would be ordering 2,500 coins in total so that they become rare and sought after in the years to come. The second coin in the series with the same obverse and Whitefish’s Big Mountain on the reverse will be released by the end of this year. His goal is to make least one coin for all 56 counties in Montana. He plans to release two or three coins annually. He wants to make many other coins to depict the beauty of this state. The pricing and rarity will depend on silver market value, along with the population and interest of the coin’s county.