Welcome to The Nevada Casino Ashtray Project
Introduction by Laurence Miller
Advertising ashtrays have been around for a long time. But it was not until after World War II that enterprising entrepreneurs realized that there was a vast market for putting the logos of businesses on ashtrays. Armed with sample kits, salesmen made the rounds of thousands upon thousands of businesses hawking their wares. And during the heyday of advertising ashtrays, from the mid-1940s through the 1960s, many businesses saw ashtrays as a cheap and effective means of advertising.
Advertising ashtrays have become a popular collectible. Collectors seek ashtrays with spectacular and beautiful artwork, like the pin-up ashtrays; or, ashtrays associated with certain themes, like Route 66, railroads and airlines, motels and bars, etc. Of all the types of advertising ashtrays, those associated with Nevada casinos and gaming have proven to be the crème de la crème. The mystique and allure associated with Nevada, the gaming capitol of the world, has carried over to the gaming-associated ashtrays as well.
Prior to 1994 the number of collectors of casino ashtrays was relatively small and insular. However, with the publication of Art Anderson's book, Casinos And Their Ashtrays in 1994, the world of casino ashtray collecting changed. The book provided examples, mainly from the collection of Paul J. Gregory, of the ashtrays issued by various casinos, large and small, well-known and obscure from all over Nevada. Anderson's book also provided an interesting history of each casino and a picture postcard of what it looked like. Anderson also included a price guide for each ashtray.
With publication of Anderson's book, interest in collecting casino ashtrays was piqued and the number of collectors has grown over the ensuing years. Casino shows and eBay have provided reliable venues for the collector looking for these ashtrays. Two dramatic changes have occurred since publication of Anderson's book. The first is the sharp and dramatic escalation in prices for the scarcer ashtrays. In Anderson, most of the scarcest ashtrays were valued at from $25-$30. Today these same ashtrays will command 10 times or more than that price, and a few ashtrays have sold for over $1,000. (Conversely, the value of the more common ashtrays has remained the same or even declined).
The second dramatic change has been the discovery of many ashtrays not listed in Anderson. Particularly since the advent of eBay in 1995, many, many unlisted ashtrays have been uncovered. (Although Anderson did acknowledge the likelihood of this). It is instructive to look through Harvey Fuller's excellent book Index to Nevada Gambling Establishments (Minden, NV: The Coin Company, 1991). The list is extensive, running around 1,500 establishments. It seems reasonable to assume that many or most of these establishments had advertising ashtrays. Many of these ashtrays remain undiscovered.
Thus, Anderson's book has become woefully obsolete and inadequate. But until now that has been all there was. And so enter Mark and Lynneta Englebretson. Mark and Lynn began collecting casino ashtrays just a few years ago and have developed an impressive and excellent collection. They became interested in updating and expanding Anderson's book. Rather than publishing another book they have chosen to establish this web site. A web site has the distinct advantage of allowing wide exposure and instant updating. With the invaluable assistance of website designer Floyd Smith III, Mark and Lynn have devoted many hours and much effort to this project. Their efforts are not to be underestimated. They have networked and solicited other collectors to share their rare ashtrays. They have gathered the post cards and written the descriptions that accompany each casino. This is a true labor of love that they took upon themselves out of their love for and for the betterment of this wonderful hobby. They have succeeded admirably.
As you peruse the web site, try and appreciate what a wonderful place Nevada was in the "good old days", when the casinos were smaller and had a distinct charm, character and personality, from the seediest and tackiest small establishment in a small town to the elegant casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. Those days and most of the casinos are long gone. It is only in the small towns of Nevada that one can still find a vestige of what these past times were like.
And, finally, this web site is a work in progress which will be periodically revised and updated as new ashtrays and information are discovered. Your comments and suggestions are welcomed and can be sent to Mark Englebretson or Floyd Smith III. Also, if you have any Nevada casino ashtrays not listed here, please send a scan via e-mail so that they can be included.
Welcome Message by Mark Englebretson
Welcome to the Nevada Casino Ashtray Project. This is a site showcasing Nevada casino ashtrays, casino pictures, and casino history. The site is, and always will be under construction as new material becomes available.
Casino ashtray collecting is unlike coin or stamp collecting, where if you plug every hole the collection is complete. With Ashtray collecting new discoveries continue to surface.
Art Anderson's book "CASINOS AND THEIR ASHTRAYS" was the beginning. Art even admitted that his book was "Only The Beginning". Since then hundreds of unlisted trays have been found.
We had thought of doing a new book but Paul J. Gregory, proposed a comprehensive website that could be updated as new discoveries came along. This website allows us that luxury, unlike a book that would be outdated before the ink was dry.
We have endeavored to provide a picture of each casino. This has proven to be more difficult than finding the ashtrays. Eventually we will do all histories as we know them. Many Reno histories are done THANKS to DWAYNE KLING allowing us to quote from his book, "THE RISE OF THE BIGGEST LITTLE CITY"
Continue to scroll down below the ashtray pictures and find other interesting posts such as old advertisements, more pictures, and who knows what else you may see.
On the home page, click on ABOUT US, and a list of our contributors will appear that list is why this site is so impressive. Scan thru the list and you will see names that are very recognizable in casino collectibles. If it weren't for these folks this site would not have progressed to the point it has. Your name can be on the list. If you have a contribution SEND IT IN.
This is a very easy to navigate webite. It is divided into four catagories; Reno, Las Vegas, Tahoe, and Small Town. Simply click on the area you wish to view and the appropriate listings will show up on the left side.
If viewing Small Town, a list of the small towns will come into view. Then click on the town you wish to view and a list of the casinos will appear for you to select from.
All of the ashtray pictures are thumbnailed. Click on them and they enlarge to near life size.
Check the "WHAT'S NEW" feature periodically to see new posts.
Any Questions about collecting or contributing CONTACT US.
Any technical problems contact WEBMASTER
A very special THANKS to our good friend, Floyd Smith III. Floyd designed this site and does all the hard work of posting this material. If it were not for his donation of time and talent we would have nothing.
THANKS FOR LOOKING AND HAVE FUN!
Above all, remember, this is everyone's site!!!
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