At 3 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (PDT) tomorrow, the eBay auction of historic Nevada casino chips will end. The collection, assembled over decades by a Denver businessman, includes tokens from the era of Bugsy Siegalís original Flamingo casino and experts have valued the collection as over US$2 million. Of the 6,800 pieces, some are worth up to US$70,000 and many date back to the 1940s. In all, there are 2,400 casino/poker chips and 4,400 casino tokens.
The Platinum Collection, named after the first legally-struck token that was struck by the Franklin Mint for casino magnate William Harrah, has uniquely surviving examples from casinos closed down by fires or demolished to make way for bigger resort properties. Before 1965 silver dollars were much used in casinos but after the price of silver rocketed and over 35,000 disappeared from casinos in one day, gambling houses were permitted to strike their own tokens.
Early colourful clay chips from casinos in places such as Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe and Virginia City are becoming hot collectors items. When the eBay auction finally ends tomorrow afternoon, it will be known if the anticipated last minute frenzy of bidders occurred and by how much the cost of the collection exceeded its US$1 million opening bid. (E.10.20.05)
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