split image of paul schaffer and casino chips

You could say Paul Schaffer is a gambling man.

That’s because the Kansas City, Missouri, USA, resident has the largest collection of casino chips, with 2,250 of them to his name.


Paul has been a collector his whole life and says he loves the thrill of hunting down difficult-to-find items.

He says when he first began collecting chips 20 years ago, it was because you could go to a casino and for one dollar, you could get a chip or token that was cheaper than other souvenirs and could be easily stored.

“Since I grew up in Minnesota where the legal age to gamble was 18, it was something we did for entertainment,” he said. 

“When my wife took me to Vegas for the first time for my 30th birthday, I saw all these cool chips on the tables so instead of buying some trinkets that I would throw away, I would keep a chip from every casino we visited. 

With my passion for collecting and love of gambling, it just made sense.

The very first chip Paul added to his collection was one his mom brought back from Las Vegas in the 80s. 

“The chip is the 1.00 brown coin in center from the Silver Slipper in Las Vegas,” he said. 

“I guess this is why I have always liked these types of chips.”


His favourite chip, however, is the 1964 1.00 Christy & Jones purple chip from the Thunderbird Casino in Las Vegas.

“Nothing says old Vegas like the Thunderbird, and purple along with the red inserts is something you don’t see these days,” said Paul. 

“This last trip to Vegas when I was talking to dealers and cage managers about chips, I would show them this chip, and everyone said it was beautiful.”

Today, Paul continues collecting chips for multiple reasons - partly because he enjoys the history that each chip tells. 

“For example, we all know that Elvis was the headliner at the International Casino in Las Vegas,” said Paul. 

“I have several chips from this casino but who’s not to say that he used some of the chips I have.”

Paul also loves the thrill of hunting for rare or hard-to-find chips. 

In fact, throughout the years he has found some of the rarest chips in the Midwest with some being the only known version to survive since many of the casinos are long gone.


The third reason Paul collects casino chips is to help preserve the history of all the great casinos.

“If no one collected casino chips or any other memorabilia then there would be nothing left of great casinos like the Dunes, Stardust, Thunderbird, and Desert Inn which all have been destroyed,” he said. 

“This is why I am a life member of the Casino Collectibles Association (CCA) because this is one of the main focuses of the organization.”

Paul has a specific arrangement process for his casino chips.

“Space is always an issue when collecting but over the years I have been able to design my own storage unit by using old dressers and gutting them out and building drawers in them or using a map cabinet to store them in,” he said. 

I of course have a huge safe to store the better chips and tokens.

Paul stores his casino chips in plastic airtight bags to keep them from damaging each other. 

Some chip colours can bleed on each other, so the airtight bags keep that from happening and hold the chips in the right position to keep them from warping due to humidity.

Paul also keeps the chips out of direct sunlight to make sure they don’t fade.

To track the different chips he has, Paul built databases.


“As a member of the CCA you can also gain access to the members-only section of the chipguide to track your collection or want list,” he said.

“This is where I keep track of what chips I am still looking for.”

Additionally, when he is not home, Paul has his own website where he has his collection listed so he can easily see what he has and what he’s missing.

Next, Paul hopes to be able to add more chips to his collection from Las Vegas. 

“I just got back from Las Vegas because since the last time I was there several new 1.00 chips were released,” he said. 

“So, I drove around to all the casinos to get them for my collection.”

There are also some rare casino chips Paul is in search of, including a 25.00 chip from a small Oklahoma casino that no longer exists. 

For the past 20 years, he has also been searching for the 25.00 Keetoowah Cherokee Casino chip in Tahlequah, Oklahoma but hasn’t seen or heard of one that has come up for sale.

I have even tried to contact the tribe that once operated the casino but can never get them to contact me back,” said Paul. 

“It is the only 25.00 chip from the state I don’t have.”

Next, Paul would like to accomplish a record title for the largest stack of casino chips

He is also grateful for those who make his casino chip-collecting experience possible. 


“The only thing I would like to share is my appreciation to all the casino employees who work in the cages or in the pits,” said Paul. 

Thanks so much for being patient with the collectors who may stop by and ask for some chips for their collection.

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