The Exchange : The lively world of collecting casino memorabilia

The lively world of collecting casino memorabilia


Chip and token collectors have been around as long as casinos have, but it wasn't until the 1980s that collectors began talking with each other on a regular basis and dealers began to concentrate on casino material. Before the 1980s, chips and tokens could be found outside of casinos only as oddities: a few chips or tokens mixed in with a coin dealer's stock or a few chips at an antiques shop or garage sale. 

Two early chip dealers published short-lived newsletters and a contributor to one of them was Archie Black, who lived not far from the relatively new casino gaming jurisdiction of Atlantic City, N.J. When the second of the two dealer newsletters ceased publication, Black, a chip collector with a long history of coin collecting and organizing coin clubs, decided to test the waters to see whether or not there might be sufficient interest to organize a chip and token collectors club similar to the coin clubs he had participated in. Late in 1987, Black wrote to a number of collectors who appeared on the newsletter's subscriber list, inquiring about interest in an organized club. 

The first issue of what would eventually become "Casino Chip & Token News," the quarterly magazine of the Casino Chip & Gaming Token Collectors Club at over 100 pages per issue, appeared in January 1988 and was entitled "Atlantic City Chip & Token Newsletter." The five page newsletter was the creation of Black, who began publishing his newsletter quarterly including news and history of the relatively new (10 years old) Atlantic City casino industry. 

The response to the survey Black included in his first issue was overwhelmingly in favor of establishing a formal club, and the Casino Chip & Gaming Token Collectors Club was a reality. The initial group of collectors numbered about 20, but the charter membership was extended to the first 100 members. That goal was passed immediately after the club's first annual meeting at the American Numismatic Association convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, that July. 


The hobby expanded exponentially into literally every aspect of gaming in America and in fact across the entire world. No item too small or too large that had an identifiable logo or casino name attached to it went uncollected. 

Items that became collectable included poker chips, casino chips, antique gaming chips, dice, matchbooks, ashtrays, postcards, napkins, coasters, menus, plaques and silver strikes. 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 slot machines. 

The first (organizing) convention took place at the ANA convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 23, 1988, and first true CC&GTCC convention took place at the Aladdin Hotel, Las Vegas, in May of 1993. 

We now come to the 22nd annual convention to take place in Las Vegas at the Southpoint Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas starting on June 18th through June 21st, 2014, with the showroom floor open to the public by paid admission starting on June 19th.   

In fact literally everything about the convention is open by paid admission with the exceptions of our blackjack and poker tournaments and the banquet and the business meeting. There are four phenomenal education seminars on aspects of the casino collectable hobby that aren't to be missed! There is still time join the Casino Chip & Gaming Token Collectables Club, Inc. and have access to it all! 

Check us out at


Written by Sheldon Smith at 00:00



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