The Frank F. Watts Collection of Casino Memorabilia (1880-1990) consists of gaming tokens and chips, matchbooks, and other memorabilia from Nevada and international casinos. The collection also contains items related to early Northern Nevada history including a salt ledger from 1880 as well as a wanted poster from 1913.
Finding Aid PDF
Scope and Contents Note
The Frank F. Watts Collection of Casino Memorabilia (1880-1990) consists of gaming tokens and chips, matchbooks, and other memorabilia from Nevada and international casinos. The bulk of the collection is gaming tokens from 1965-1968 from casinos across the state of Nevada, including Las Vegas, Laughlin, Winnemucca, and Carson City. Other tokens are from former Fremont Street casinos such as the Bingo Club, the Carousel, and Lucky Casino. Other items in the collection include matchbooks from casinos in the United Kingdom, as well as a Las Vegas-themed board game from 1944. The collection also contains items related to early Northern Nevada history including a ledger from Eagle Salt works from 1880 as well as a wanted poster dated 1913 from Virginia City for the crime of white slavery.
Collection is open for research.
Materials in this collection may be protected by copyrights and other rights. See Reproductions and Use on the UNLV Special Collections website for more information about reproductions and permissions to publish.
Materials are arranged by format.
Biographical / Historical Note
Frank Frederick Watts (1911-2004) was born in Columbus, Ohio and attended Ohio State University before graduating from Franklin University. He came to Las Vegas in 1950 with his wife, Jane. He spent his entire career as a hotel controller, working at the El Rancho until it closed in 1960 and then at the Riviera. Watts, along with the Nevada Resort Association, helped found the hotel college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in 1966. Frank Watts passed away on December 10, 2004.
Frank F. Watts Collection on Casino Memorabilia, 1880-1990. MS-00255. Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
Materials were donated in 1985 by Frank F. Watts; accession number 85-135.
Materials were processed by Special Collections staff. In 2015, as part of a legacy finding aid conversion project, Angela Moor revised and enhanced the collection description to bring it into compliance with current professional standards.
The following items seem to have been separated and placed in an artificial collection, the Gaming Artifact series of the Promotional and Publicity Material Collection: Gaming tokens: El Cortez (1966), Frontier Hotel (1967), Riviera Hotel (1968), Thunderbird Hotel (1966, 1967, 1968), Eldorado Club (1966), Rainbow Club (1967), Harrah's (1966).