What Other Casino Memorabilia Do I Want to Collect?
by Sheldon Smith
The last time we left you we had run through a few of the more popular casino collectible items. We already know that most collectors collect Casino/POKER CHIPS. We already know that quite a number collect POSTCARDS, MATCHBOOKS, PLAYER’S CARDS, ASHTRAYS and ROOM KEYS.
So what else is there left to collect?
Try these on for size: tokens, dice, napkins, coasters, menus, plaques, silver strikes, titos. The joke is that there is nothing out of bounds and people do in fact collect things that the average person would simply say, “YOU ARE KIDDING!” Table layouts for roulette, blackjack and craps, actual signs from the casinos, the glass fronts to slot machines, and of course the slot machines themselves! I am sure that I have left some things out!
Tokens have fallen out of favor from collectors because the vast majority of casinos no longer use them but tokens in MINT condition are still sought after, some of them are .999 silver and some of them are simply gorgeous. Prices have not kept up but they are really nice and collectible.
Dice have a particularly interesting history going back thousands of years to when they were made out of ivory or bone. Now we find that dice made much earlier in the 20th century were made out of cellulose nitrate and now are made from cellulose acetate. Cellulose nitrate crystallizes, too long to go into as to why, but it really gets ugly. Dice are still highly collectible and dice from the casinos like the Sands and the Desert Inn command fairly decent collectible prices.
Napkins are in a category all of their own. Hard to imagine but cocktail napkins from years back have phenomenal graphics, there aren’t many of them around and they are very easy to display and the variety of images on them are quite nice.
Coasters! Coasters? Who would’ve thought that coasters would be collectible but the images on them are second to none, almost! Images from the Hotel El Rancho Vegas are particularly striking, collectible but limited in number and interest.
Menus have a particular fascination because they not only reflect the style and availability of food items but the prices give you an idea of what food was selling for way back when, the only menus folks want to collect are the way back kind!
Plaques are synonymous to a style of gambling that was prevalent in Las Vegas and is still prevalent outside of the USA for the most part. They are gorgeous, oversize, durable and reflect a time when James Bond was gambling in Las Vegas and we all thought the game of Chemin De Fer, (baccarat), was way cool! Very collectible, especially from older casinos in Las Vegas.
Silver Strikes were largely created to attract gamblers to a slot machine where a potential prize other than money could be awarded. Once upon a time they were more prevalent and contained .5 to .6 ounces of .999 silver.
They are now for the most part CLAD with a shiny, silver substance and the collectible nature of the Silver Strike has fallen on hard times. My oft quoted, “if you make something to be a collectible only it is not going to be a collectible for long” rings true with Silver Strikes, although quite good to look at, the machines were difficult to maintain and the rise in the price of silver several years ago, too expensive to put in a Silver Strike, has made a serious dent in their collectability.
TITOs are our last subject for now. They are used to pay out in video poker and slot machines. They have replaced the token almost completely, there are some decent graphics on some of them, hence their collectability, not widespread in terms of collecting but they do have the casinos’ name on them.
Next time will discuss the more difficult and larger items to collect such as layouts, slot glass, and slot machines and those one of a kind casino collectibles you never knew about!