I'm sure most people who love casino chip collecting will tell you that it's worth the time and money. Nothing can be quite so satisfying as finding that rare and collectible chip.
Most people have a hobby of collecting something or the other. Many kids of my generation collected stamps, coins, baseball cards, comic books, etc. Kids today collect action figures, Pokemon cards, transformers, and hello kitty merchandise! Be that as it may, my new passion and only hobby is now collecting rare, vintage casino chips
It all began when an acquaintance of mine came back from Las Vegas with a handful of chips, and a story about the growing popularity of Texas Hold-Em and the WSOP. He was not really a ‘competitor’, but we became fascinated by this rapidly expanding market for casino chips
. I was both amused and fascinated by the clay chips in denominations of $1.00, $5.00, $25.00, and $100.00. Not only had I never seen chips like this before, I never imagined that people could actually collect them, even though I am a Lifetime Member of the ANA and, at one time in my career, over 20 years ago, owned one of the country’s largest retail rare coin dealers. That was before PCGS and NGC, which became popular in the early 1990’s. Nevertheless, the more I looked at them, their artwork, their rarity, their storied Las Vegas history, the more enthralled I became, and thus began my foray into the world of Las Vegas casino chip collecting. Let’s face it, Las Vegas
is HOT! The building boom there over the last several years has been nothing short of phenomenal. The old classics have disappeared: the Flamingo, the Sands, the Desert Inn, the Moulin Rouge, to name but a few. The Stardust
will be imploded in the next few months – talk about a hot market. Once those chips go “obsolete”, their value is likely to increase substantially. We are seeing it happen right now. By the way, we’ve got the 1981 10th Issue $500 Stardust chip, rated R-10, in SU>New condition; we believe it may be “unique”.
Today, each time we take a look at our growing inventory, a sense of pride mixed with fun and amazement courses through my body. Like any addiction, the only way to support the hobby, is to be in the business. Many of you know exactly what I am talking about.
Most collectors collect chips as a way to get to know more about the casinos and cities from which they originate, or the often notorious owner-operators. But chip collecting can also be a serious business. Rare, out-of-circulation vintage chips hold immense appeal to scores of serious collectors all over the world. And the collector base is growing for reasons mentioned above. Many may start the hobby with “non-investible” chips – just for the sheer fun of it all – but, inevitably, they begin to look at upgrading their collections as a portfolio diversification to their other financial and/or tangible assets. As noted in the previous posting, as more and more rare coin collectors discover the similarities in the market – and they number in the millions, not just the thousands like the chip collecting hobby – and more and more marketing of chips gains traction, an initiative of Heritage Chips
– we can just imagine what will be happening to the values of properly selected rare casino chips.
And then, besides the passionate, there are the professional chip collectors who collect not merely for the pleasure of it, but as a form of investment. Like coins, fine art or even wine, rare chips can be worth some serious money. One chip I know of hit the $50,000 mark this past year, surpassing all previous public records for a single chip. Once locked away in family collections, it is unlikely that such a chip will be seen again for many, many years. Again, reminds me of the way the rare coin market grew over the decades. These investors often prefer important, rare chips, and scour auctions and niche dealers to find and/or trade in chips. These are not grown men indulging in a nostalgic hobby. They are professional, high net worth individuals who are serious about their investments.
Money, they say, makes the world go round. And what better way to control your portfolio than to hoard private, portable assets. Start casino chip collecting today – you can do it with $500 or less – and discover a fascinating world that will not only give you hours of fun and satisfaction, but will also teach you to appreciate American history from an entirely different perspective.Well, are you all pumped up to start chip collecting? Many of you have already started, so I hope this blog gives you further reason to pursue your hobby. Please feel free to post your comments – all are welcome.
Good luck finding those chips