In the early 1990s casino strikes began to appear. These are coins, or more properly, tokens, that were intended to be collected. However, they were redeemable for their face value. Currently, there are no longer available at most, if not all, casinos, due to the increase in the price of silver. The most common denomination, the ten dollar strike, frequently contained about six-tenths of a Troy ounce of fine silver.
These were usually limited edition strikes that had silver as the primary metal. Indeed, many also carry a mint mark, and have the casino’s name and an associated image on the obverse, and an artistic image on the reverse.
The usual denominations include the seven dollar, the ten dollar, the twenty dollar, the twenty-eight dollar, the forty dollar, the one hundred dollar, and the two hundred dollar face values.
The ten dollar casino strikes normally have a large brass rim. The twenty dollar denomination normally has no brass rim, and contains additional fine silver. In fact, the greater the denomination, the more fine silver the casino strike contains. The twenty-eight dollar denomination generally begins the sizes that contained a heavy gauge electroplating of twenty-four karat gold used to emphasize the image. Beginning with the forty dollar issues, the rim was also heavy gauge electroplated gold. For completeness it should be noted that a few twenty-five dollar casino strikes were issued.
Occasionally, some large casinos would add colorization to the forty dollar strikes. These are especially collectible.
A similar token, the bingo token, exists in a twenty-five dollar denomination for several casinos. These have no rim.
Larger casino strikes, when redeemed, were sometimes cancelled. Some had a hole punched through them, others had small indentations where the metal was gouged out by the casino. Cancelled casino strikes are less attractive to collectors.
Several of the Grand Casinos issued brass plated with gold casino strike sets of four themed casino strikes, usually as gifts to better customers. These were often five dollar strikes, but are not considered very desirable, even when still in the original attractive display case. However, they are generally quite attractive pieces.
Some mints used the same image on the reverse of casino strikes for multiple casinos.
During the height of casino strike collecting, cruise lines, the airport in Las Vegas, and many small casinos offered strikes. They would be visible, at least the smaller ones, in transparent attachments to slot machines, and drop down as winnings. Larger ones were too heavy to drop out of a machine.
While casinos cannot offer these today, they are still highly collected. In fact, those from casinos that have ceased operations seem to go at a high price compared to others.
Some people collect by casino, but others collect by theme. The themes vary greatly. Trains, automobiles, celebrities, and old west are but a few examples of themes frequently used.
This article is written by Henry M. Smith whose website [http://blackspanielgallery.8m.com] supplies information and connections for coins and related collectibles.
When originally issued, casino strikes were protected in plastic capsules, most of which were clear, but blue ones are not uncommon. They should remain in the capsules, if possible.