Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Coin program needs sponsorship

Express Staff Writer

Coin contest design winners at Ketchum City Council meeting, from left to right, are Denise Decoster, Ralph Harris, Adam Marks, Noah Bowen, City of Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall and Gary Marks. Photo by Rebecca Meany

The city of Ketchum celebrated its 50th anniversary of its incorporation as a city last Oct. 16. To commemorate the milestone, the Ketchum 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee in association with the Ketchum Community Development Corp. commissioned a 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Program.

"We had a contest with five categories and ended up with six," said Ketchum City Administrator Gary Marks. "We went through designs in blind judging where no one knew the artists. I removed myself from judging."

Marks said the program was based on a similar anniversary celebratory program in Whitefish, Mont., which he oversaw. In addition, Marks is a coin collector.

The designs were presented on Tuesday, July 5, at the Ketchum City Council meeting. Each artist won $100. Marks donated his winnings back to the program.

"The program ends at this point unless a contribution comes through," he said. "I think this program is iconic for the community."

Marks said the program is suffering from lack of money due to a down economy. In order to create one coin, a $5,000 sponsor is needed. The whole program would cost $30,000 for six coins. Marks said the edge of the coin would have the sponsor's inscription.

"The coin designs have special meaning based on an important aspect of the community," he said. "All ideas expressed through the program are a celebration of the community but we need a sponsor or sponsors."

Marks said it would be easier to promote the program if one coin could be produced.

For more information, e-mail

All the coins will have a common design on their reverse or tails side. On the heads side, coins will have one of six designs reflecting Ketchum's skiing heritage, mining heritage, the arts, animals indigenous to the area, railroad heritage and sheepherding traditions.

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