US Coins

Casino chip collectors journal profiles closed Sahara

The Sahara Hotel and Casino, a fixture of the Las Vegas, Nev., gaming and entertainment scene, closed its doors May 16 after a 59-year run.

In the Volume 24, Number 3, edition of Casino Collectible News, the official periodical of the Casino Chip and Gaming Token Collectors Club Inc., Todd Barrett examines the history of the Sahara, the sixth hotel and casino to open up on the Las Vegas Strip.

The Sahara, according to Barrett, was the brainchild of casino executive Milton Prell, a native of St. Louis who moved to Los Angeles with his family when he was 2 years old. He moved to Las Vegas in 1945, eight years after he had opened a small club, the 30 Club, in Butte, Mont.

Prell opened his first Las Vegas business, Club Bingo, on July 24, 1947. The Sahara opened on Oct. 7, 1952.

Barrett illustrates gaming chips and tokens and related memorabilia from the 30 Club, Club Bingo and the Sahara, as well as later facilities in which Prell had an investment stake. These later facilities included the Lucky Strike Club; Vegas Vic and The Pioneer Club, which Prell renamed The New Pioneer Club; The Mint Casino; the Tally-Ho; King’s Crown; and The Aladdin.

Pam Goertler contributes her third in a series of articles examining gaming in Nevada during the 1940s and collectibles associated with establishments from the era from Las Vegas, Virginia City, Reno, Elko and Lake Tahoe.

Reprinted is an article by Phil Jensen that first appeared in the December 1976 issue of the Cal-Neva Token Ledger chronicling Bicentennial chips and tokens issued in Nevada.

Extensive coverage is provided in the journal of the 2011 CCGTCC convention, held June 22 to 25 at the South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

For more information on collecting gaming memorabilia and the CCGTCC, visit the club’s website at The organization offers several different levels of membership and methods of delivery of the journal. ¦

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