Monday, June 27, 2011

A Chip Down Memory Lane

The 19th annual convention of the Casino Chips and Gaming Tokens Collectors Club has come and gone. When I lived back east, I used to time one of my yearly LV visits to coincide with this convention. After moving to LV I attended for several years. For the last 3 years, despite living here, I didn't make it to the convention. So, this year I took a night off of work to accommodate a midday trip to the Southpoint Casino and I spent some time on the bourse floor. If you have any interest at all in chips, casino related ashtrays-china-matchbooks-swizzle sticks-postcards etc etc you would be amazed when 80-90 dealer tables are set up all loaded with casino stuff. For the first few times it can be a little overwhelming. After you convince yourself that you can't, ever, have one of everything, it takes the edge off.

This year I purchased my very first ivory chip. Antique ivory chips are interesting in many ways. Not the least is that in a custom set containing hundreds of "identical" chips, no two are exactly alike. The scrimshaw work was, of course, painstakingly done by humans so minute differences exist. I chose this one because it displayed my initial. Some debate took place, but the consensus was that the letter was a W. I can live with it either as a W or an M since either one is appropriate.

After I bought the chip, Dr. Myers (a legend in chip circles) told a story about a customer who approached his table at the convention and proclaimed that he would never buy an ivory chip because an elephant had to die in order for the chip to be made. Dr. Myers, straight faced, told the customer that he could verify that this particular elephant had died of old age. The customer bought an ivory chip. Maybe you had to be there, or maybe you have to know Doc, but it WAS funny at the time.

My only other purchases were a few chips low on the $$ scale but not in history. One of the chips is from the Royal Nevada. Most probably have never heard of this place which existed on the Las Vegas strip from 1955-1959. If, however, you have ever been in the huge swimming pool (the largest in Nevada when built by the Royal Nevada)that was behind the Stardust you have been in the Royal Nevada pool since the Stardust acquired and later engulfed what was the Royal Nevada. By the way, if you ever happen to find this chip without the drill hole cancellation, congratulations! because it's worth well over $1,000 today.

The Monte Carlo Resort chip is from 1968 when the resort was located in Laughlin, NV. This place closed in 1977. 19 years later the Monte Carlo that you are all familiar with opened on the Las Vegas Strip. The two California Club chips, from the 1960s, were in play at 101 E. Fremont Street and not at the California Hotel of today located at Ogden/Main.
Although very plain in design, I think these chips have character. How I wish I had been here in LV way back when. The stories that these chips could tell.............


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