Largest Casino Collectibles Show at South Point this weekend

Jun 19, 2012 3:00 AM

The World’s Largest Casino Collectibles Show is back this weekend at South Point so come dressed in red, white and blue and catch the feeling of true Americana.

This marks the 20th annual gathering, which will be extra special until the 25th annual edition comes around in 2017. By then I’ll be…boy I don’t want to think about it.

Anyway, I journeyed to the event last year and couldn’t help but be impressed with the massive amount of collections in chips, coins, rare photos, etc., all throughout the South Point’s enormous Grand Ballroom, located upstairs on the second floor. (Look for the escalators).

I tried to persuade some of the vendors to give me some of their more valuable items, but unfortunately they asked for money.

“There’s no denying the industry has been hurt by today’s economic crisis,” said Sheldon Smith, the man with the plan (aka: Convention VP education and publicity director). “We would like to grow and expand the hobby each year. Our hope is to interest more people. We are so grateful to Michael Gaughan and South Point for being so accommodating.”

Well, it is one year later and Gaughan is as accommodating as ever. Probably more so if you ask some of the loyal customers who crowd the South Point casino every day. As for the economy, we’ll take a pass on that one and leave it for others best capable of defining that touchy situation.

I do know the gas price was in the $3.50 range so we’re cool for now and in the mood to collect.

There is something for everyone at the show but for those newcomers who decide to take it all in, expect most of the presentations to be about chips. They rule the roost.

“Someone sold a Showboat $1 chip from 1961 for $29,000 on Ebay,” Smith told me at last year’s function. “She was in Las Vegas and went to the Showboat. While there she put a $1 chip in her jewelry box. Well, 47 years later she retires and is looking for things to sell. She put this 1961 Showboat chip up and everyone went crazy.”

That was in 2011 and it is quite possible you will see a chip of equal or greater value this year. South Point used 21 tables a year ago to display the merchandise, which once called the old Aladdin, Riviera, Tropicana and Orleans home over the past 20 years the Collectables Show has visited Las Vegas.

It is the proverbial “needle in the haystack” search, but seeing all the American flags in the room as we get closer to July 4 does give you a proud feeling of patriotism and the gambling spirit that makes Las Vegas, well, Las Vegas.

The city is evolving – carrying more of an entertainment and artistic presence than ever before. But gaming built this old western town. Long live this show for keeping that reputation alive.