National News

Las Vegas couple amasses incredible casino memorabilia collection

Posted July 28

— For Sheldon and Christine Smith, Las Vegas has more than just a special place in their hearts. The love of the city occupies a big part of their home.

"These are casino chips from the Monte Carlo," Christine said, showing off a necklace. And that was just the start of the couple's incredible collection.

Dice from the Riviera hang on the wall, matches from the Dunes sit in a frame. Stacked neatly on tables sit chips from the Sahara, the Mint, the Encore.

"This was played in the first round," Christine said holding a chip with Steve Wynn's face on it.

"The cards, the napkins, the plates, the ashtrays," Sheldon listed off. "We'll collect anything that has a casino name on it."

That includes the giant Playboy chip from the Palms that hangs in the center of the couple's living room.

"My rule has been - and it's never really effective - if we're going to get something new, we have to get rid of something old," Sheldon said while surrounded by hundreds of pieces of memorabilia. "We haven't succeeded," he added with a laugh.

So how did all of this get started? The couple said Las Vegas has always been special to them.

"We were both at the same conference and we met here, so this has always been, we think of it, as our town," Christine said.

That led to the couple taking trips here, and, in time, the tradition of bringing chips back to their home in Illinois.

"We would collect chips and tokens from casinos, and you'd take them home thinking you'd bring them back someday," Sheldon explained.

When they moved to the valley almost ten years ago, they brought those chips back, and much much more.

So how big is the collection?

"I have absolutely no idea," Christine said with a laugh. "Thousands of thousands of pieces."

Sheldon said the massive collection captures the couple's history, and shows off what makes Las Vegas, and Nevada, unique.

"This is the only state in the union that seems to perpetuate a kind of spirit that transcends the norm," Sheldon said. "It's a little screwy, it's a little nuts."

It's a state Sheldon said is the perfect place for a "screwy hobby."

"And if other people think we're a little crazy, we don't really care," Christine added.

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