Collecting Casino MatchbooksFebruary 1, 2017
Collecting casino matchbooks can be a great and inexpensive hobby. There are dozens of clubs and groups that center on collecting matchbooks such as the American Matchcover Collecting Club and the oldest Phillumenic Organization in the world, the Rathkamp Matchcover Society. The CC>CC; is another group that has many matchbook collectors, and their emphasis is on matches from casinos.
Casino matches and matchbooks are a very popular collectible because each one represents a completely different casino. Enthusiasts often find different matches and match books or boxes from restaurants inside the casinos, and each one can hold a special memory from meals, gambling or other events.
The Best Thing About Matchbooks
While everybody has a different reason for collecting matchbooks, the best thing about saving them is that they are very inexpensive. They are free in casinos, and the best covers depict some special aspect of the club. As an advertising medium, they often show the casino’s trademark logo or catch phrase.
Famous Casino Matchbook Sayings
The Sands – a Place in the Sun
Harold’s Club – Harold’s Club or Bust
Desert Inn – everything under the sun
Las Vegas Club – Largest Sign West of Chicago
Sahara – A new high in resort living
Mapes Sky Room – Dancing in the clouds
New Frountier – Out of this world
Sonoma Inn – The pride of Nevada’s highways
Some collectors like matches in their original state and save them folded over with unused matches inside. Other collectors prefer to carefully remove the matches so the booklets can be flattened out and both sides viewed at the same time. Many timeless covers from the 1940-1960’s have printing on the inside of the cover also.
Casino Matchbook Prices
While many collectors never save anything they didn’t get for free at a casino, some are more interested in the historical aspects of older covers. Matches from closed casinos are off course worth more, usually selling for a few dollars a book. Rarity and popularity govern the prices of other matchbooks. A nice unstuck (no matches have been scratched on the strike plate) booklet from the hotel Sahara in Las Vegas from the late 1950’s might fetch $5-$8. A similar matchbook from the Lucky Strike club from down on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas might actually command a few dollars more because there were never as many made.
Collectors have found Ebay to be a fine place to find small collections of matchbooks at prices as low at 10-15 cents each. Individual matchbooks are often just a couple dollars. More valuable, fancy covers
from small clubs like Felix’s in Lovelock and Winnemucca with scalloped edges and the logo cat might find buyers in the $10-$15 range.
Remember, if you collect your matchbooks with the matches attached, they are flammable, and must be stored with care.