Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Silver State

Nevada is probably best known for its gambling, mining and nuclear testing.  While I’ve done two of the three, I enjoy the results of mining the best. Oh, and by the way, the nuclear testing was a simulation at the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas. I have to say that this museum is interesting in a creepy kind of scary way. Nuclear testing aside, Nevada has been a top silver mining state since 1858 after the discovery of the Comstock Lode. They are second behind Alaska.


Nevada has adopted the name, “The Silver State” and with all their silver production, they are aptly named. Silver is so popular in Nevada that they used them at one time in commemorative coins in their casinos. You could win a Silver Strike or Silver Premium Token in a slot machine. These particular slot machines have slowly faded away but the coins live on with collectors. The first silver strike slot machines went into use in the Reno/Tahoe area casinos in 1992. A silver strike is actually .999 silver in denomination of $7 or higher. So you’re winning a little real silver in addition to the face value of the coin. Depending on the price of silver, the coin could be worth more than face value.

 A Harrah's Casino Silver Strike
For me I could never understand why casinos dropped silver strike slot machines. If you won the prize you could turn the coin in for the value printed on its face. Most who win the silver strike coin simply keep them. I would think this would be a boon for casinos. You give out a prize that cost less than its face value to produce and no one redeems it. Collecting these little discs of silver and brass is a popular hobby since there are few, if any, casinos that still issue them. I guess the increase in silver prices has made the coins too expensive to product. They could always put them in higher denomination machines to keep them on the floor. Just sayin’.
So while I haven’t been to a casino on this trip. I probably will go when I come back in a few weeks. I personally lament the disappearance of silver strike slot machines. They were fun and you got to win something different. Not that I don’t like to win money, who doesn’t like to win money? It was so exciting to win this oversized coin and the sound of it hitting the tray was a little thrilling. Now when you play a slot machine they just issue paper tickets. Although there is something worse than a paper ticket, no paper ticket.
Silver Strike from The Nugget Casino

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