Flamingo Hotel Las Vegas Original 1946 $5 Poker Chip Bugsy Siegel Lansky Mafia
Looking for that next great memorabilia item for your collection? Well, this it! 1946 Flamingo $5 Poker Chip! This is an original poker chip from the opening of the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. This type of chip is known as a "Bugsy Chip" as this was the only type of chip that was around while he still ran the iconic Las Vegas landmark hotel. The chip is a standard size orange clay chip with a wafer metal inlay in the middle on both sides that red 'THE FLAMINGO LAS VEGAS 5.00". The chip itself is in really nice condition and is bright orange in color. Many of these chips have holes punched into them which were done by the Flamingo cashier cage and dealers know the chip is discontinued and can no longer be used as currency in the casino. Every casino does this, but most of these chips you find out there have this "hole punch" if you would, as the hotel obviously had most of the population of these chips in circulation. Finding the ones that haven't been punched are the toughest to find like this one here and their value amongst poker chip collectors is significantly more sought after and valued because of this. In addition, most of the chips you see out there are nowhere near the great quality condition as this one and in this kind of shape.
The Flamingo opened on December 26, 1946, and was run by Siegel and Meyer Lansky, both mafia figures in the Jewish Mob. Lansky of course ran the money for the Mafia and was assigned to Las Vegas to supervise Siegel and others to make sure the mob's interests were protected. When it had opened it was a massive failure as it was not completely finished and parts of it was still under construction. It was rushed because the Mafia had tied up a lot of money to building it with its minority owner Billy Wilkerson, and they didn't have any more time to wait to start getting their money back.
Anyway, this chip is from the original batch of chips from when it opened and Siegel was only around for 7 months or so after it opened as the mob began quite impatient on their investment and its profits that they held Bugsy accountable for its failure as well as him stealing money from the Mob. He was murdered on June 20, 1947 at his girlfriend, Virginia Hill's Beverly Hills home. The day after Siegel's murder, David Berman and his Las Vegas mob associates, Sedway and Gus Greenbaum, walked into the Flamingo and took over operation of the hotel and casino. Bugsy was not there long and it is unclear when the next set of poker chips were released after this one but it was rumored either just before he left or right after he died, so they were not around long at all.
If you are looking for original Las Vegas collectibles directly tied to Siegel or the Flamingo hotel in Las Vegas, it gets no better than this. Collectors don't sell these chips. They keep them in their collections as a corner stone of their collections and pass them down to their families as they are so rare and hard to find. We can't stress enough how difficult these chips are to come across.
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