News From the Dutch Caribbean

by Ralph Pollack
CC&GTCC Life Member R-749-13

News From the Dutch Caribbean, July, 2000


The History of the CURACAO HILTON HOTEL & CASINO


For those of you who do not know where Curacao is, it is just off the coast of Venezuela, South America. Curacao is an island that is thirty-eight miles long and is just two and a half miles wide at its narrowest dimension.

The discovery of oil in Venezuela in 1914 prompted United States oil companies to build refineries on this island and thus gave an impetus to an industrial revolution. Curacao has a great sea going history and its shipping port is one of the best in the world. Its airport has the longest runway in the Caribbean.

In 1967 the Curacao Hilton was built with 200 ultra modern guest rooms and is located about a mile and a half west of downtown Wilemstad which sits on Piscadera Bay.

View of the Curacao Caribbean Hotel & Casino

Over the past 33 years a succesion of several hotels and their adjacent casinos have occupied the same property. Here is the chronological order of casinos at this spot:

  1. Curacao Hilton (HIL)
  2. Curacao Concorde (CON)
  3. Curacao Caribbean (CAR)
  4. Curacao Casino Resort (CCR)

The first table gaming chips used had the Christy & Jones (C&J) mold with the shinny Hat & Cane mold. Both a large eight pointed star logo and the denomination are located in the center inlay of the chips, PRC # HIL – 5 C&J.3, figure 1.

FIGURE 1 FIGURE 2
In 1968 they issued both proof and regular tokens, in both 50 cents and one-dollar denominations by the Franklin Mint. The obverse shows the eight point star logo similar to the chip while the reverse has the hotel view on it, PRC # HIL - .50.2, figure 2. During the same era the Hilton Casino also used a $5.00 Christy & Jones red chip ‘non-negotiable’ ‘no cashout value’. These rare, red chips are extremely attractive with 3 x 3/8 cream inserts and gold lettering in the white center inlay, figure 3.

FIGURE 3

The next chips were of the H.C. Edwards & Co.’s ‘H.C.E.’ mold. These were ordered from the Burt Company on May 3,1977. This chip is very regal looking with the hotel’s eight point star logo with a ‘CH’ in the center of this logo, PRC # HIL - 5HCE.1, figure 4.

On June 15, 1978, they again changed ownership and used the Jay Myer Scroll mold on all of their chips. This chip is one of only a few that actually have the word ‘casino’ as part of the chip and has the PRC code # PRC # HIL – 5 S.1, figure 5.

The casino changed ownership and the name of the hotel became the Curacao Concorde Casino. The chips were Paul-son’s Hat & Cane mold. This is the only casino from Curacao that has a chip with the word CREDIT on it, PRC # CON – 25 H&C.2. Figure 6 is the $5.00 Hat & Cane chip, PRC # CON – 5 H&C .1.

The casino again changed ownership to the Curacao Caribbean Hotel & Casino. They used the Bud Jones Metal Inlay chips, PRC # CAR - 5B.2. They also were still using the defunct Concorde's $5.00 Hat & Cane chip on their Blackjack tables, PRC # CON - 5H.1.

In May 1998 the casino again changed its name and all of its chips to the Curacao Casino Resort. They are now using the new full graphic Paul-son’s Hat & Cane chips, PRC # CCR – 2.5H.1, figure 7. This chip shows the view of downtown Willemstad from the Otrabanda side while the other side of this $2.50 chip has the logo common to all of their chips - the palm tree in the middle of the word ‘Casino’. The $5.00 chip has a full graphic topographical view of the hotel, PRC # CCR - 5H.1.

All of the above reference numbers are derived from Pollack’s book “The Casino Chips and Tokens of the DUTCH CARIBBEAN, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao & St. Maarten” ================== Grand Holiday Casino (GHC)

This casino was first opened by Danny Jones in 1985 after he purchased it from Frank King (formerly King International Casino). The GHC's chips were the colorful Chipcos, figures 1 & 2, and are now obsolete so, if you have any of these chips hold on to them, they will be good collector's items! If you don't have the GHC Chipcos email me. On September 1,1998 the GHC was sold to Mike Posner and he renamed the casino Excelsior Casino. I recently had spoken with Mike about the GHC's inventory of chips and he can not release any of the old chips for another year or so.

FIGURE 1 FIGURE 2
Crystal Casino

The Paul-son's Hat & Cane $5.00 and $25.00 chips are no longer! They have been replaced with Bud Jones inlays with indented starburst incused lines emanating from the center, figures 3 & 4.

FIGURE 3 FIGURE 4

If you had collected these Hat & Canes you would have noticed 3 varieties of each $5.00 and $25.00 ones! The standard playing chips and two varieties of other denominations. Each 'credit' chip had a bold or a thinner spelling of the word 'credit', figures 5 & 6.

FIGURE 5 FIGURE 6

These are now quite rare and will fetch a premium for collectors. Please bear in mind, that only a few casinos in the world have casino chips with the word 'credit' on them! The other way casinos distinguish credit or marker chips from regular 'play' chips is by the color of the chip with the same denomination. In Aruba, the Stellaris Casino in the Marriott Hotel, and the Hyatt Regency Casino in the Hyatt Hotel differentiate regular 'play' versus 'credit' chips is via different colors in the mold areas, the center inlay logo is usually the same.

Alhambra Casino

The previous Hat & Cane dark green $25.00 chip with 3x1/4 Blue & Orange inserts chips worn (PRC# ALH-25 H&C.1) and were recently changed to newer Hat & Cane chips. This new $25.00 chip is lime green with 4x1/4 Navy Blue & Turquoise inserts (PRC# ALH-25 H$amp;C.2, figure 7.

FIGURE 7

'Til next time, Ralph.


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