CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) -- One of Nevada's first birthday gifts of the year comes from the Coeur Rochester silver mine near Lovelock — and it's a big, shiny silver bar.
Gov. Brian Sandoval accepted the $24,000 gift Wednesday to be used as part of the Silver State's 150th birthday celebration, which begins later this year.
"To have this as one of the first major gifts that we can all see that has been put toward the sesquicentennial celebration is incredibly remarkable," Sandoval said Wednesday.
The bar weighing about 60 pounds was given to the state by Coeur Rochester, and the state museum will use the block to mint silver medallions commemorating the state's sesquicentennial.
"That is an extremely valuable and extremely generous gift," Sandoval said. "I couldn't think of a better way to kick things off, and for all of us to be able to see and share in this great moment."
One thousand coins created from the 1,000-ounce bar should be available for purchase shortly after the yearlong celebration begins on Nevada Day this year.
Miners had to process between 4,000 and 5,000 tons of ore to get enough silver to make the bar, and then the metal was treated for about three months.
The gift was a symbol of "both the rich tradition of mining and the bright future that mining has in the state of Nevada," said Luke Russell, vice president of environment and community at Coeur d'Alene Mines.
"I think it's extremely special we have Nevada miners mining Nevada silver which will be available to Nevadans," Sandoval said.
Nevada's statewide celebration has an official start date of Oct. 31, and Sandoval said he wants to see 150 events celebrating the occasion over the following year.
A special commemorative license plate with 1864 — Nevada's first year of statehood — in big white letters was also was also displayed Wednesday as part of the state's commemoration efforts.
- Brian Sandoval