On one of our trips to Las Vegas, a friend invited us to his home to see his collection, and perhaps buy a few items. This was probably around 2003, when ashtrays were at their peak prices. At his home, I was in awe….! I’d never before seen a full wall devoted to displaying Nevada casino ashtrays and china! We browsed and chatted and enjoyed our visit, then selected the Monte Carlo ashtray, a few other trays, and a couple of plates that we wanted to purchase. The “friend price” for everything that we selected was $500.
A few months later we spotted the same Monte Carlo ashtray on ebay. We saved it, so we could see what it sold for. That was several years ago now….but I still remember being glued to the computer for the last 30 minutes of the auction! And I still remember keeping my husband updated on the progress of the auction. At the beginning, there were 4 or 5 bidders on the auction, but it ended in a bidding war between just 2 bidders. CB was one bidder; he’d bought hundreds of ashtrays over the years, mostly casino. Back then you could actually click on another bidder’s auctions to see what they’d won…and he won a lot! If CB really wanted an ashtray, he’d get it. The other bidder was OC6, a newcomer to the world of casino ashtrays. He’d only been buying casino ashtrays for a couple of months, but he also bought Rolex watches…and he’d been buying those longer than he’d been buying ashtrays.
On the last night of the Monte Carlo ashtray auction, my husband kissed me good-night and headed for bed. I clicked on ebay to check out the ashtray, knowing it would end soon. He was probably halfway upstairs when I hollered “CB just bid $400!” I was surprised to see CB bid that much, since I knew that he already owned a tray like that. Nothing much happened for a few minutes, so I did a little channel flipping on tv. After I went back to the auction I went to the bottom of the stairs and listened…I could hear the t.v. in the bedroom, so I hollered up “OC6 is winning, and it’s at $700!!” Before long I was hollering again “CB just pushed OC6 to $1000!! That’s CRAZY!!” The next time I went to the bottom of the stairs, the t.v. had been turned off so I kept further updates to myself as I watched the prices climb, and climb, and climb. When the auction ended I went upstairs, to the bedroom door, and whispered “Are you awake? OC6 just won the auction for $3250!! Plus shipping!” (The ashtray shouldn’t have sold for more than $300-$500!)
During the 48 hours before that win, OC6 had also bought a Frank Sinatra’s Cal Neva ashtray, a Bird Cage ashtray, and a Las Vegas Club ashtray. For all four of them he spent over $5000!! And after that win…I never saw him bid on another casino ashtray. My husband and I agreed that CB was tired of OC6 pushing the prices up on him, so he decided to throw his weight around and “stick it” to OC6. If our theory was right, he played OC6 like a fish!
(Not positive that the Las Vegas Club and Bird Cage ashtrays are the same ones that OC6 bought...but I think they are).