Tiffany Adler found a century-old treasure when she recently searched the upper reaches of her family’s Canal Street jewelry store in New Orleans.
Upstairs lay the parts that were used to strike a coin for the state’s centennial in 1912.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Adler said. “I couldn’t believe I put my hands on it.”
Carriages rattled through the French Quarter and the sinking of the Titantic was the news of the day when Louisiana sold the coin to celebrate the anniversary of the 1812 statehood. Adler’s had been in its Canal Street location for four years.
One side of the coin features a pelican nesting with its young. The flip side shows the boot shape of Louisiana and notes the southern position of New Orleans.
A hundred years later, part of the design is being revived for the 200th anniversary of Louisiana becoming part of the United States of America.
Adler said the plan is to keep the pelican but to redesign the other side so New Orleans is not emphasized.
Lobbyist Randy K. Haynie, fundraising chairman for the Louisiana Bicentennial Commission, is responsible for sending Adler on a scavenger hunt through her family’s store.
Haynie collects coins and had a 1912 centennial coin in his collection. The box for the coin bore the name of Adler’s Jewelry. Haynie showed the coin to Adler’s father, Coleman.
Tiffany Adler mounted the stairs and discovered the dies that were used to strike Haynie’s coin.
“They’d been sitting up there over 100 years,” she said.
Haynie told members of the commission that coins for the 2012 bicentennial will be sold in bronze, silver and gold beginning Jan. 1. A set of all three coins also will be sold, he said.
“I wish it could be before the holidays,” said commission member Rosemary Patterson. “What a great gift to give someone.”
The commission is raising money for the celebration by selling bicentennial-branded products, raising donations and asking taxpayers to donate their refunds.
With the kickoff event four months away, the commission is less than halfway toward its $1.9 million fundraising goal.
Items for sale will include a CD, artbook, china, posters, shotguns and the commemorative coins.
Mike Shepherd, executive director of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, said he went through several hundred songs to choose the ones that made it on the CD.
He said the 20 tracks will feature the vocal talents of Deacon John, former Gov. Jimmie Davis, Vince Vance, Tab Benoit, Kenny Neal, Lucinda Williams and others.