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History of Nevada Tokens

The following information comes from a couple of sources.  The first is the 1965 Franklin Proof book.  The Franklin Mint  minted a majority of the tokens issued in the 1960's, although there were a few other mints in operation back then.  Additional information comes from a letter written to me by Janice and Jerry O'Neal.  I had written them a letter asking about the Nevada token list that they put together, and still maintain today.  They were nice enough to go into some of the history of Nevada Gaming tokens.  

The following is from the Franklin Proof book.  

For years, U.S. Silver Dollars had traditionally been used in Nevada on the gaming tables and in dollar slot machines, as well as for general monetary purposes.  When all U.S. Silver Dollars started selling at a premium in 1964, Nevada gaming casinos found themselves in a difficult position.  Most of the casinos had substantial inventories of silver dollars, but they could not hold on to them for long.  The cartwheels disappeared just about as fast as they were put on the gaming tables.   

So, when it became apparent that the silver dollar problem was not going to be solved by itself, the Nevada Gaming Commission passed a regulation permitting the casinos, for the first time, to issue their own private dollar denomination metal tokens. This regulation was subsequently supplanted with a broader statute by the Nevada State Legislature,  The Nevada Gaming Commission, after consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department and other experts, issued a new set of regulations in August 1965, laying down specific ground rules for the use of these tokens.

The Franklin Mint, a Division of General Numismatics Corporation of Yeardon, PA., minted the first metal tokens for Harrah's in July, 1965, and since then has became the major producer of Dollar Gaming Tokens for Nevada gaming casinos. 

Each token has a different edge reeding pattern.  This technique was perfected by the Franklin Mint to help casinos identify "foreign" tokens in a stack and to further stymie potential counterfeiters.

In addition to the regular run of each of these Dollar Gaming Tokens, which varied from 5,000 to 250,000 pieces, most of the casinos received 500 proofs of these tokens in individual coin holders.  Also minted were 2,500 complete "proof-like" sets for stockholders of the Franklin Mint, and 500 complete full-proof sets in fine silver primarily for presentation purposes.  Each of the "proof-like" and "full-proof" sets were distributed in special serially numbered albums.

The following information comes from Janice and Jerry O'Neal.  

Dollar slot tokens were made from 1965 to 1969, then came the 'Ike' dollar coin.  At that point the U.S. government decided these would be better used than allowing the casinos to mint their own money (tokens).  So, there were no more dollar tokens minted until 1979, when the issuance of the 'Ike' dollars ceased.  In 1979, almost every casino with dollar slots issued new dollar tokens.  That is why there is an unusually large number of tokens listed for 1979.

Reference for non Franklin Mint 1965 tokens, from the club web site:  Click here

Mints that were producing casino tokens  from 1965 to 1969    

  • FM - Franklin Mint
  • O - Osborne Coinage
  • W - Wendell's
  • MTE - Michigan Tool & Engineering
  • PE - Product Engineering  

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