Bei Ebay ist ein Spielchip aus dem legendären (und 1996 abgerissenen) "Sands" in Las Vegas, in den Fünfziger Jahren für $ 5 ausgegeben, für 33.000(!) Dollar versteigert worden - mit nur sieben Sekunden Vorsprung vor Toreschluß und dem bis dahin führenden Gebot , siehe den beigefügten Artikel.
Web auction ups the ante on casino collectibles
By RICK ALM
The Kansas City Star
March 16, 2004
A rare casino chip, considered by collectors to be the hobby's Holy Grail, was sold Sunday on eBay for a single-chip record price of $33,000.
The 1950s-era $5 chip from the Las Vegas Sands Hotel is one of only five of its style known to exist. The Sands was torn down in 1996 to make way for the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino. The bright blue and red chip was cast in a classic arrow and die mold around the edges and is emblazoned with the slogan “A Place in the Sun.”
California seller James Campiglia could not be reached Monday. He also was absent from an online chat site for collectors. The site, which Campiglia frequents, was abuzz with talk of the sale. The buyer, who bid under the name “Achipguy,” remained anonymous. He never got into the bidding fray that opened March 9 at $999.99.
Over five days, the rare chip drew 40 offers from 20 people bidding under names such as “Brooklynfats,” who dropped out at $20,000, and “Chiprocker,” who finally quit at $20,989.01. With the online auction scheduled to close Sunday precisely at 8:53:16 p.m., Achipguy jumped in and posted the auction's final bid with just seven seconds to spare — by far topping the previous bid of $25,555.55.
The sale shattered the previous single-chip record price of $15,100 paid three years ago, also on eBay, for a one-of-a-kind $5 chip from the Hacienda Las Vegas, which was destroyed to make way for the Mandalay Bay Casino.
“This is the Holy Grail of chips,” Len Cipkins, spokesman for the Nevada-based Casino Chip and Gaming Token Collectors Club Inc., said of the Sands chip. The Sands was the favored Las Vegas retreat of the famed “Rat Pack,” which included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.
Ron Clewell, president of the Kansas City-based Mid America Casino Collectors Club, said unbelievable prices were being paid for the colored clay discs. “I could never go out and pay $33,000 for a chip,” he said. “That's a pretty nice down payment on a house. But there are people with pretty deep pockets … that want to own a piece of history.”
“No chip has ever brought that kind of money,” agreed Jim Kruse, a veteran Kansas City casino worker and co-founder of the local collectors club. “It's got all the history in the world.”
Kansas City's riverboat casinos offer none of the mystique of such legendary Las Vegas gambling halls as the Sands, but Clewell said a few items from local riverboats were starting to fetch unexpected prices. Limited-edition, second-anniversary $5 chips from the closed Sam's Town Casino in Kansas City depict company chairman Sam Boyd and now sell for as much as $30, he said.
A rare, all-red Sam's Town slot club card produced shortly before the casino closed in 1998 recently sold for several hundred dollars. Those cards were thought to have been destroyed, along with the casino's chips, Clewell said. “They ran them all through a wood chipper,” he said.
“You name it, we collect it,” Clewell said of the hobby that encompasses almost any casino logo item, including club cards, ashtrays and matchbooks. Many collectors, such as Kruse, work in the industry. He specializes in Midwest riverboat chips.
“I've worked on the riverboats from day one,” said Kruse, who thinks his collection includes every $25-and-under denomination chip issued by every casino in the six riverboat states. The danger for collectors of rare, high-dollar items is the chance that new quantities could suddenly surface.
Years ago, Clewell said, Las Vegas casinos sometimes disposed of discontinued chips by encasing them in concrete and burying them on the property. Several such caches have turned up recently, he said. “You sure don't want to spend $33,000 for a chip and then see a box of them show up on eBay,” Clewell said.
Kruse said one of the rarest items in his collection was in his possession for decades before he realized it. A few years ago, he was checking the pockets of an old sport coat destined for donation to charity when he discovered an inaugural-issue $25 chip from Resorts International, Atlantic City's first casino, which opened in 1978.
Kruse remembers that trip, but not the forgotten chip, which today is valued at around $3,500.
“It's not for sale,” Kruse said. “I've never sold a chip I didn't have two of.”
FRANCIS ALBERT SINATRA
12.12.1915 - 14.5.1998
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