4¢ Silver Centennial
Issue Date: June 8, 1959
City: Virginia City, NV
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 11 x 10 ½
In 1959, this stamp was issued to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Comstock Lode in Nevada. Lured by the discovery of gold and silver, miners erected tent cities that eventually turned into some of the most important cities in the U.S. today.
The Comstock Lode
In 1859, two miners, Pat McLaughlin and Peter O’Reilly, discovered gold near Virginia City, Nevada. Another miner, Henry Comstock, claimed the gold was on his property. Although this was untrue, Comstock assured himself a place in history, as the Comstock Lode, as it came to be known, became the greatest mining center in the U.S. According to some authorities, it was the most valuable single deposit of silver and gold ever discovered.
The riches of the Comstock Lode attracted thousands of people to western Nevada. Virginia City flourished, becoming one of the most important cities in the West. The grubby prospectors turned millionaires built fabulous mansions and imported the finest goods from around the world.
The gold and silver of the Comstock Lode were crucial to the Union’s financial well-being during the Civil War. In fact, Abraham Lincoln allowed Nevada to become a state, despite the fact that it did not have enough people to meet statehood requirements, to secure these riches for the North.