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Jim Noll

 

Last Updated:
Nov. 12, 2005

 

Armin Pfaender

 

 

 

 

     Armin's first exposure to chips happened at one of the coin shows in Las Vegas when Frank Mandell came to Armin's table peddling Carousel chips. He was offering them at 5 cents for the $1.00 value hat and cane issue, 10 cents for the $5.00, 15 cents for the $25.00, and 35 cents for the $100.00 value. Armin purchased a small quantity of each, very few of the 100's. As time went by Armin increased his inventory of chips and started with just a small corner of one of his coin display cases with chips. C.T. Rodgers supplied Armin with the greatest amount of chips at the time, after meeting C.T. at the Long Beach Coin Show, which was held 3 times a year. 

     In the late 70's and early 80's Armin was attending 20 to 30 shows a year. At each and every show Armin was amazed that the chips were drawing a lot of interest. As time went by Armin increased the room for chips to about 25% of his display. Basically less interest in his coins and more interest in chips at every show through the west. Around the mid 80's Armin met Jim Gellette at one of the Sahara Coin Shows and shortly after began a collection of Nevada chips. There probably is not a collection in the entire country that does not have chips that passed through Jim's hands. Jim was the premier chip jobber of the times, and still does quite well. Jim sold Armin chips like $5 & $25 dollar Elwell, $5 & $25 Mt. Charleston, $1 & $5 Dunes Sultan, $1 & $5 Landmark building, Wil Clark portrait, just to mention a few. All the so-called rare chips in Armin's collection came from Jim. A couple years after that Armin met Mel Jung, also at a coin show in Northern California, and began a friendship with Mel that has lasted over the years. Mel specialized in Northern Nevada, but had a great selection of Las Vegas as well. In the early 90's Armin met Bill Schmidt, who lives in Las Vegas and had been collecting longer than Armin had and they decided to get together to write a price guide for Las Vegas chips. It took over a year to create the first book on Nevada Chips and they showed it at the first national convention in Las Vegas. 

     By this time Armin's coin cases were showing 75% chips and 25 % coins, and he began doing more antique type shows. The interest never slowed down for chips and of course by this time there was a club in New Jersey, which took Armin over a year to join, and Armin began suggesting to his customers to join the chip club. A few did, but most did not relate to being involved with an East Coast club. After joining the club myself, #138, I was disappointed to find out about chip issues that happened two or three months before I received my club magazine. This combination led Armin to start up W.C.C. (Western Casino Collectibles) with C.T. Rodgers so they could publish a club magazine every month and appeal to the 'locals'. It was not long after that when they had over 340 members. W.C.C. met mostly at a local hotel in Van Nuys by the airport. W.C.C. ran from 2 members to the largest meeting Armin recalls of 22 members. The largest turn out was due mostly to our club secretary, Estelle Hartman. She did a fabulous job for the club, which explains the largest turnout of 22 members at one time. At this time we had been in contact with national to become a satellite chapter, and hence the Southern California Chapter of the CC&GTCC. Gene Grossblatt was very active in our W.C.C. and acted as treasurer.   Armin was voted in as the first President of our Southern California Chapter of the CC&GTCC. Armin has published for a number of years “California Chips” a California reference and price guide with the assistance of Mel Jung.

The Southern California Casino Collectables Club evolved from the So. Cal. CC&GTCC Chapter when the chapter format was discontinued by the CC&GTCC in 2004.