Las Vegas Sun

April 21, 2015

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Ask Mr. Sun:

Does old-Vegas memorabilia have any value?

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Hey, Mr. Sun,

Our daughter, who lives in Belgium, sent us a postcard the other day — from Las Vegas, circa 1973. She said she picked it up at a flea market. Can you tell me whether old-Vegas memorabilia (besides casino chips) have any value? If so, I’ll have her buy more!

This particular postcard featured a Fremont Street TraveLodge motel and boasted of its 60 units “cooled by refrigeration.”

Don’t rent a shipping container just yet. Old Las Vegas postcards are typically worth only a few dollars each.

The primary reason is there are a lot of them out there, according to experts. Back in the day, places such as White Cross Drugs sold them for a dime and most tourists left town with handfuls in their luggage.

“Motel postcards, unless they’re from the early days, aren’t worth a whole lot,” said Carey Burke, a Las Vegas memorabilia expert and author of the book “Postcard History Series: Las Vegas From 1905-1965.”

“They usually go for $2.50 to $5 if they’re in pristine condition and if they have a Las Vegas postmark,” he said. “People like the postmarks on the back as much as what’s on the front.”

More valuable, experts say, are casino-related items, particularly chips.

“In Nevada, collectibles really revolve around casinos,” said Sheldon Smith, education and publicity director of the Casino Chip and Gaming Token Collectors Club. “If it’s an early casino, one that no longer exists or one with a notorious history, all the better ... Otherwise, casino chips are it.”

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