The 2010 edition of the CC>CC convention hits Las Vegas in just a few weeks. This year’s event is being held at the South Point Casino. Conventioneers will begin arriving as early as the 18th, but the main event, the show in the Grand Ballroom, opens to the public on June 24th at 10:00 AM
In the early 1980s, Bill Borland started a small newsletter to feature the casino chips he was selling. I followed suit in 1984 with the National Registry and then continued with Casino and Gaming Chips Magazine in 1986. Archie Black added articles to my offerings and in 1987, he started the Casino Chips and Gaming Token Collectors Club.
Early collectors like Phil Jensen, Bruce Landau, myself, and Dale Seymour, we hitting flea markets, antique store and casinos alike to find old and interesting chips. Seymour followed his collecting bug and published the book Antique Gambling Chips.
Seymour’s book was followed by Howard and Kregg Herz’s work, A Collectors Guide to Nevada Gaming Checks and Chips. As the curator for Harvey’s Wagon Wheel at Lake Tahoe, Herz established the largest collection of individual casino chips in the world and found a niche for his efforts in the book penned by he and his wife.
About the same time, Allan Myers, Ernest Wheelden, and Michael Knapp put out a price guide to the casino chips and checks of Nevada. Their work was titled The Chip Rack and included hundreds of pages of chip varieties, casino starting dates, and a value code for known chips. The book is routinely updated to keep up with an ever-expanding line of casino chips and new finds.
Individual chips are made by a variety of chip manufacturers, but some of the older varieties from out of business suppliers are in great demand. Inlaid gambling chips (Crest and Seal-type) manufactured by the U.S. Playing Card Company are a favorite of collectors.
Robert Eisenstadt has devoted a lifetime to collecting and cataloging old chips, and his web site features photos of his collection. Inlaid chips sell from just a few dollars to thousands for rare chips from favorite old Las Vegas casinos clubs like the Dunes, the Flamingo, and the Great Provider.
Because the hobby has blossomed and new price guides like The Official US Casino Chip Price Guide (By James Campiglia and Steve Wells) have hit the market, collecting continues to be popular – and prices have risen to amazing levels.
According to Anthony Curtis, the man behind the Las Vegas Advisor, a record price for a $1 denomination chip was realized after retiree Sandy Marbs listed a single chip on eBay that she found at the bottom of her jewelry box.
The chip, a souvenir from a trip to Las Vegas in 1960, was a rare Showboat Las Vegas issue; one of only three known to exist. Marbs started the listing at $2.25 and watched in amazement as the bidding took off. When the dust settled and the emails to stop the auction early and make a deal ended, the auction ended with a final price of $28,988.88
I guess that $1 investment paid off pretty well.
I hope I see many of you at this year’s convention and don’t forget, I’ll be doing a little PowerPoint presentation with lots of pictures from my book: The Roots of Reno. The lecture starts at 9:00 AM on Friday, June 25. See you there!
Thanks for reading – Al W Moe