Yes, there are people who collect casino ashtrays, and they don't have to be vintage crystal with rhinestones. In fact, ashtrays from old casinos hold a special history within their circular design that often confirms their date of manufacture and the era of ownership for each casino. That's part of a whole casino history thing that plenty of people are interested in.
Casino owners can be pretty shrewd, and they've used ashtrays as marketing tools for years. In fact, I have an ashtray from Harrah's Tango Club in Reno that is over 70-years old and there are plenty others that predate it.
At the top of the list of crazed ashtray enthusiasts are Mark and Lynn Englebretson, who designed their own website called the Nevada Casino Ashtray Project. Their website, composed of articles and photos of ashtrays and casinos, highlights the fun of collecting and the history behind the casinos themselves. The list of contributors to the site is quite extensive, and collectors are happy to add their historical notes and new ashtray finds. The site includes a sneak peak of stories from Nevada's Golden Age of Gambling by yours truly.
Also at the top of the list of ashtray enthusiasts are Art Anderson, who wrote the book CASINOS AND THEIR ASHTRAYS nearly 20 years ago, and Paul J. Gregory, who allowed Art to photograph many of the amazing ashtrays he collected over the years.
The ashtray at the top of this blog is a simple design used by Harrah's at their Lake Tahoe and Reno casinos in the 1970's. The ashtrays fit neatly into a socket on the old Pace slot machines and were also used at bars and on table games. It's one of my favorites, but only worth a few dollars.
However, many ashtrays from 1940's Las Vegas casinos sell for several hundred dollars! What's in your garage?