Spokane County commissioners plan to spend $5,125 on a set of 300 commemorative coins to give away to local power brokers and visiting dignitaries.
The idea is torn right from the public relations playbook employed by Spokane Mayor David Condon, who last fall started handing out his own coins as tokens of appreciation to a select group of service-minded citizens.
The county coins will feature an engraving of the historic 1895 Courthouse on the front and a map of Washington on the back side with a highlight showing the location of Spokane County.
The finish will be in antique nickel with a blue enamel border. The coins will be 1 1/2 inches in diameter – about the size of an Eisenhower silver dollar – and held in a protective acrylic case.
The commissioners rejected add-on options for certificates of authenticity and a leatherette presentation case, holding the cost per coin to a bit more than $17.
Commission Chairman Al French said the tradition of handing out specialized coins has roots in the military and is appropriate for Spokane County, home to Fairchild Air Force Base.
The coins will come in handy during business recruiting, French said; the commissioners can offer a durable token of appreciation that will be memorable.
“It’s similar to what the city already does,” he said.
French said he liked a red enamel border but was overruled by Commissioners Shelly O’Quinn and Todd Mielke, who favored the blue border.
The commissioners chose Northwest Territorial Mint, of Federal Way, Wash., to design and strike the coins. It offered the county a $1,200 discount on the engraving. The mint company will retain the engraving for any additional coin orders.
The commissioners intentionally chose that company since it operates in the United States.
Commissioners said they want to review the final design before placing their order, which would be filled in six to eight weeks.