Sandoval accepts silver bar for state's 150th anniversary medallions

CARSON CITY — Neither Gov. Brian Sandoval nor Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki had any problem Wednesday hoisting a 1,000-ounce silver bar, which soon will be converted into 1,000 special 150th anniversary Nevada medallions.

“The governor worked out this morning,” Krolicki quipped at a ceremony commemorating the donation of the silver by Coeur Rochester, a silver mining operation near Lovelock, about 94 miles northeast of Reno.

Sales of the silver medallions will help raise funds for the 150 events being planned during Nevada’s statehood celebration between Oct. 31 of this year and Oct. 31, 2014.

Nevada was admitted into the union by President Abraham Lincoln on Oct. 31, 1864, after the state’s anti-slavery and anti-polygamy constitution was telegraphed to Washington, D.C.

The 1,000-ounce size bar is valued at more than $23,000 based on the current price of silver.

“This is Nevada silver,” said Sandoval. “It comes from Pershing County and a mine I visited a year ago.”

The governor noted that old photos show just how excited Nevadans were during the 100th anniversary of statehood in 1964 and he wants residents “to feel that way in 2014.”

No state funds are being used in the celebrations, only donations that they expect will be more than $2.5 million.

Luke Russell, a vice president of Coeur Robinson, said the gift was appropriate for the Silver State. He said his company’s mines have produced 130 million ounces of silver in the past 27 years. The area from which the silver was produced has been mined since 1860.

Krolicki heads the Nevada 150th anniversary commission, which he said might come up with several designs for silver medallions that likely will be on sale beginning around Nevada Day this year. Krolicki said he hopes for future donations of gold that also could be used for 150th anniversary medallions.

Russell said it took about 4,000 tons of ore to produce the 1,000 ounces of silver, which was a block about a foot long and about 6 inches high.

The silver will be melted down at the Northwest Territory Mint, in Dayton, and turned into 1,000 .999 pure rounds.

Ken Hopple, the coin operator at the Nevada State Museum, will compress the silver into medallions.

Hopple uses an 1868 press used to mint coins in the old Carson City Mint, 1870-93. The mint now houses the Nevada State Museum.

Bob Nylen, curator at the museum, said he expects there will be far more demand for medallions than the 1,000 silver ones.

“There will be a huge demand,” added Hopple.

The price of the medallions will be determined by the 150th anniversary commission, but Nylen and Hopple said silver one-ounce medallions generally cost $65.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at or 775-687-3901.