Lake Tahoe

The following article was posted by Jim on the old Prodigy Board on December 20th, 1997

The collecting of Lake Tahoe chips is a specialty within the hobby of chip collecting. It has been estimated by those who buy and sell Lake Tahoe chips that there are approximately 30 to 40 hardcore Lake Tahoe collectors. I don't know if the figure is accurate but lets assume for our purposes that it is.

Let's take a chip Mel offered in our recent Thursday night auction: The $25.00 Tahoe Palace, Hrglas mold - 3 black, Christmas Tree - N4859. This is an excellent chip!

When this chip first surfaced a while back, the Tahoe collectors wanted it desperately for their collections. The chip originally opened at $175.00 and was offered by Consolidated Collectibles in early 1996. The demand by the small core of Tahoe collectors pushed the value of this chip to the $300.00 range quickly. In addition, those who collected only $25.00 chips from any where in Nevada also put pressure on the demand. Since it was a HS (Hot Stamp) and not an inlay the appeal to other Nevada collectors was soft. Many Nevada collectors love inlays but are much cooler on HS. The find on this chip was in the area of 20 to 30 pieces (some worn so badly they had to be junked). Before the finder of this chip sold out, he entered into a trade with a chip dealer who took control of the remaining inventory.

The result was many of the hard core Tahoe collectors who could afford this chip didn't get it. In addition, other chips were surfacing at that time which was putting pressure on the bankrolls of chip collectors in general. If you go around at shows and check the stock of dealers books you will not see the chip for sale very often. What is it worth?

Well, if your a Tahoe collector whatever will pry it loose. Remember, once the Tahoe market is satisfied and the $25.00 collectors get theirs. What will happen to the demand for this chip?? There won't be any unless new collectors enter the hobby. Therefore, in my opinion this is a difficult piece to fully evaluate. I have it in my collection. If you want it, get it! But keep in mind all "rare" Tahoe chips COULD be very expensive when found and loose their value much easier than other Nevada chips over a period of time. Especially if more surface.