VF Grace — Alaska’s 50th Commemorative Coin

Success Summary: The release of limited edition firearms embedded with stunning Northwest Territorial Mint medallions led to sporting goods wholesaler VF Grace quickly selling out of inventory.

The Challenge: To design a memorable coin that would capture the rugged character of Alaska, the country’s last frontier, and to design a complimentary souvenir coin that would carry some of Alaska’s most recognized symbols in honor of the 50th anniversary of its statehood.    

The Solution: Working with Northwest Territorial Mint, supervisors at VF Grace created a commemorative product of timeless quality that perfectly reflected the pioneer spirit of the country’s most rugged state.

The Story: In a state where hunting is a way of life, Alaskan sporting goods wholesaler VF Grace knows its customers cherish a quality firearm. So when it came time to promote the 50th anniversary of Alaska’s statehood, crafting a limited edition rifle and handgun to commemorate the historic occasion was a no brainer.

Because VF Grace had sold limited edition firearms for Alaska’s 25th statehood anniversary, they wanted to make the 50th anniversary even more unique. They knew they wanted a special medallion to be embedded in the butt stock of the rifle and started to look for someone who could craft a coin with the quality they were looking for.

Dick Folz, VF Grace’s sporting goods manager, worked with Northwest Territorial Mint’s art department to get exactly the look he wanted. “Northwest Territorial Mint came up with the idea of the topographical map of Alaska which we loved.” The art department collaborated with Folz to add the 49 stars, representing Alaska’s history as the 49th state, to the coin’s border.

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Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin holding commemorative rifle with medallion next to VG Grace’s sporting good manager, Dick Folz.

They used a distinct “Frontier” font for the lettering on the coin to make the connection to the state’s unofficial motto “The Last Frontier” even more unique. The expert craftsmanship of the medallions and guns had such acclaim that they attracted the attention of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Along with the commemorative coin inletted in the shoulder stock of the rifle, Northwest Territorial Mint created a two-sided souvenir coin that accompanies the limited edition Ruger Revolver that VF Grace produced for the 50th anniversary celebration. Picturing two iconic Alaskan images – the majestic Mt. McKinley in the distance and an imposing grizzly bear before it – the coin was splash-minted, allowing for exceptional relief and detail.
The commemorative medallions were an overwhelming success, with the limited edition rifles quickly selling out of stock. Folz was proud of the finished product. “The coin speaks for itself. It’s gone over really well with everyone at VF Grace.”

Additional die-struck products from Northwest Territorial Mint include knives (including our unique coin knife), key chains, coasters, tie tacks, lapel pins, and more. Contact Northwest Territorial Mint today to create your own custom military award, commemorative, or gift.

Find Out How Custom Coins Can Benefit Your Organization.

Give us a call toll-free at 1-800-843-9854 or send an e-mail to custominfo@nwtmint.com.


Click on the images below to view the Alaska 50th coins gallery: