This post was written by Ralph Starks, a blogger and traveler who enjoys exploring the world in the best ways possible.
Being part of the gambling world is more than just visiting casinos or claiming bonuses. True enthusiasts know that there is beauty and significance in collectables that helped make iconic casino history. Casino memorabilia is a testimony of a time passed, but never forgotten.
You, too, can become an avid collector and help keep an important part of history away from the sands of time.
What is Considered Casino Memorabilia?
Casino memorabilia is a wide term that includes more than just chips and tokens. However, both of these are the most popular types, as they are easy to identify and have distinct marks that determine their value. Tokens in particular are easy to place within the same collection, as they are all made out of metal or porcelain.
Other memorabilia includes dice, playing cards, ashtrays, glasses and cups, and figurines related to the history of a casino. Dice are interesting because they used to be custom-made, while cards can cost a lot if they are stored and kept properly.
What’s especially interesting is that even online casinos have unique collections. They’re keeping the tradition alive by making their own tokens that are limited edition, for example. This is a great way to start your own collection and watch as it potentially grows in value over time. Sites like Master of Casinos give you plenty of resources to find the best online casinos that may have amazing collections.
Basics of Collecting Casino Chips
When you’re just starting to collect casino chips, there are a few things you need to pay attention to. Knowing what to look for can help you build a valuable collection you can be proud of.
- Location: Chips from Las Vegas are by far the most valuable because they come from the casino capital of the world. The second best location to look out for is Nevada, for the same reason. There’s even an ongoing trend to collect one chip from each casino in Nevada! Other locations around the world aren’t in such high demand, but of course there are exceptions. These generally include more significant casinos with a lot of history.
- Mould: Pro collectors already know to look at the type of mould, but beginners can easily overlook this aspect. Keep an eye out for Arodie, as it’s the best type. C&S chips are close runner-ups, but you also can’t go wrong with Sm-key and Recti moulds. These come from the classic era of casinos, which is what makes them valuable. Rcthrt, C&J, HCE, and Diswrl can also be nice additions to your collection.
- Rarity: The fewer chips there are, the higher their price will be. If you aren’t sure of its value, the best thing to do is check the rarity number. These range from Unique (1) to Extremely Common (2,000+). The rarity index is based on the consensus of collectors all over the world. At the same time, some chips can have an unknown rarity, as there’s no way to tell how many of them survived the era they’re from.
- Aesthetics: Of course, aesthetic appeal can also have a significant impact on the price. If the chip has a nice inlay picture, it’s likely to cost more. That’s simply because both new and experienced collectors want to add something visually pleasing to their collections. It’s also worth mentioning that chips with hot-stamped pictures are generally worth more than those with words.
- Condition: The condition is also an extremely important factor to consider. If the chip is preserved, it makes a much nicer addition to the collection and is worth more. The condition also adds to the aesthetic appeal.
How to Find Memorabilia?
Getting into collecting memorabilia can be a difficult venture, as you simply don’t know where to start. But, it’s not impossible to build your connection to the gambling world and establish a striking collection. Even if the pieces you collect aren’t worth much, the value they provide to you is priceless.
You can start by looking online. Aside from checking out the collections of online casinos, you can check out sites where others can post sales ads, like Facebook Marketplace or eBay. Keep a regular eye on these types of sites, as you never know what can pop up.
Another way of getting those vintage finds is to visit local antique shows and pawn shops. These places often draw in specific crowds, one of which being gambling collectors. Visiting in person, instead of just looking online, can also put you in touch with the community and show you what collectables are currently available and popular.
Of course, the best and most efficient way to find collectables would be to go to the centre of the action: Las Vegas! There are a lot of souvenir shops and vintage dealerships there, as that’s where the heart of gambling lies. Other famous casino cities can also yield some positive results.
Finally, it’s also worth checking out local thrift stores. It’s pretty well-known that unique and valuable items can pop up in these types of stores, as people often don’t know what they’re donating or simply don’t care.
How to Value Items?
There might be a (somewhat) clear-cut guide on how to value casino chips, but the same isn’t true for other types of casino memorabilia. Historical significance, condition, and rarity are by far the most important factors experts consider when assessing the items.
The first thing you should do when you find something you think might be valuable is look it up online. This will give you some indication of what the item sells for. Keep in mind that online price guides aren’t always 100% accurate. Sometimes it’s just a matter of what people want to sell it for, without regard for actual value. But, it’s still a good first step to decide whether you want to take something home with you or not.
The safest way to get an accurate estimate of the value is to consult experts in a given field. You can find them online or at your local antique shops. Not only will this give you a general idea, but it can also determine if any nuances could bring the price up.
How to Sell Collectibles?
If you want to sell an item in your collection, it could turn out to be as difficult as finding collectables in the first place. This is because you need to go through the right channels to find customers who are actually willing to pay the right price for an item.
The best thing you can do in this situation is to find a good dealer that will handle the collectables for you. They will know the real market value and have a network of serious collectors they can sell to. Find someone you can trust and get on with, and you’re more likely to get valuable pieces for your collection, too!
There’s a lot that goes into finding casino collectables and building an eye-catching collection that you can show off. With some time and patience, you’ll soon know where to look in your area and will be able to recognise which pieces are likely to hold any value. We wish you luck on your journey to find timeless casino pieces that still hold the spirit of vintage casinos!