For a million bucks, not just a token auction - Friday 14th of October 2005

Its not unusual to see chips and tokens from Nevada casinos pop up on eBay and other online auction sites.

It is unusual when a collection of chips and tokens go on sale with a minimum bid of $1 million. That will be the case on Tuesday when "The Platinum Collection" is made available to bidders.

The collection is made up of 6,600 chips and tokens that date from the 1950s -- the centerpiece of which has a direct connection to Reno. That piece is a platinum $1 token made by the Franklin Mint in 1965 for Reno gaming magnate Bill Harrah. The Platinum Collection of gaming chips and tokens is named for the Harrah piece.

Its the one-of-a-kind items that set this collection apart.

"Its not a reproducible collection," says Howard Herz, owner of Gaming Archaeology and author of the soon-to-be published Illustrated Standard Guide to Nevada Gaming Tokens. "If you went out today and attempted to build a similar one, you couldnt do it. Youd have to own pieces from this collection in order to try."

Chip consultant James Campiglia, co-author of The Official U.S. Casino Chip Price Guide, agreed:

"Many of the collection pieces are very desirable, extremely rare and not obtainable today. Chips are like small pieces of art with many different colors and designs. People collect them for fun and investment purposes, along with owning a little bit of history."

The collector, a Denver man who plans to remain anonymous throughout the sales process, assembled the collection over a 40-year period and has never sold any of the pieces.

Chips in the Platinum Collection date from the beginning era of legalized gambling in Nevada in 1931, to rare issues used at the large Las Vegas strip casinos, as well as those in Lake Tahoe and Reno. Many are from clubs that were shuttered years ago.

The eBay auction is scheduled to begin Tuesday and run for 10 days. The final hammer will come down at

3 p.m. on Oct. 21.

If you have an extra million dollars sitting around the house, check it out. For more information about the Platinum Collection, go to the Web site: www.chipsandtokens.com.

Well keep you posted on the bidding.

TRAVELING MUSTANGS: Holding adoption events for Nevadas wild horses is nothing new for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, but there will be a first this weekend as 50 wild mustangs from Nevada and other Western states will be put up for adoption in northwest Ohio.

Fridays edition of the Toledo Blade detailed the auction, complete with a photo of wild horses being rounded up by helicopter near Lahontan Reservoir.

KATRINA FUNDRAISER: A benefit for Hurricane Katrina victims who have moved to Reno will be held today at Bartley Ranch Regional Park from noon to 4 p.m.

Organizers call it a day of music, food, drinks, silent auction and more. Reno jazz singer Cami Thompson, Cee Cee Gable and Sol Jobe are among the performers who will appear.

All donations collected go directly to the new Reno families.

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