Jackpot! This August, Heritage Offers Hundreds of Uncirculated Morgan Dollars From the Tahoe Tavern Casino

Most of the coveted coins in this historic hoard hail from the Carson City Mint

by Heritage Auctions | Published on July 28, 2023

DALLAS, Texas (July 27, 2023) – In 1947 the owner of one of Lake Tahoe’s most luxurious hotels and casinos sent his sons on a bank run for more silver dollars. They returned from their routine run with bags filled with coins to be used in the casino’s slot machines. Except the boys and the coins never made it as far as the casino floor. Upon their return, the fellows from the Tahoe Tavern Casino discovered their sacks of silver were filled mostly with uncirculated Morgan dollars from the Carson City Mint!

Because never forget: The house always wins.

Seventy-six years later, that jackpot heads to auction for the very first time: On Aug. 14, Heritage is thrilled to present The Tahoe Tavern Casino Collection U.S. Coins Showcase Auction , which consists of 286 Morgan dollars – a vast majority of which date to that fortuitous bank run in the summer of ’47.

“The lots in this auction are completely fresh to the collecting community,” says Heritage Auctions President Greg Rohan. “Everything about these Morgan dollars is historic: Most hail from the Carson City Mint, which is significant as they’re among the most collected Morgan dollars. They come from the Tahoe Tavern, a landmark in Tahoe’s development as a tourist destination. And it’s extraordinarily rare when you get a hoard like this, and this is the biggest one Heritage has handled in a long, long time.”

Among these coveted coins from Carson City by way of Tahoe are numerous 1879 Morgan dollars, among the most challenging from the Carson City Mint because of their scant mintage (only 756,000). Among the highlights: This lustrous MS62 example possesses a sharp central strike, making it a beautiful – and highly in-demand – specimen.

Here, too, are myriad Morgans from 1893, the year the Carson City Mint ceased operations – and a decade before it closed altogether after serving its final days as a U.S. Assay Office. One of this auction’s most sought-after offerings is this MS62 example, a Far Date variety with slight punching at the top of the “3” in the date . This offering is a well-struck example, with attractive gold and blue obverse toning and a brilliant reverse.

The origin story of this hoard only sounds like a tall tale, perhaps appropriate given the Tahoe Tavern’s deep roots amid the pine, cedar and tall firs atop and along the shores of Lake Tahoe.

Timber and mining magnate Duane L. Bliss, a Massachusetts man who gold-rushed his way to San Francisco, wanted to capitalize on the influx of Californians summer vacationing in Lake Tahoe. So he had his son, architect Walter Danforth Bliss, design what became the sprawling luxe hideaway called the Tahoe Tavern, which opened in 1902 and quickly expanded into an imposing 450-room resort complete with a bowling alley (which later turned into a movie theater), a doctor’s office, a barber shop and a ballroom – and, of course, the casino.

The Tahoe Tavern changed hands a few times upon its completion, and in 1946 brothers John and A.J. Flagg, real-estate developers and restaurateurs from Northern California, bought the resort. They owned it for just one year – but it was a lucky year.

Sometime in the summer of ’47, John’s son Marvin and A.J.’s son Morgan – oh, the coincidence – drove 15 miles north from Tahoe City to Truckee to secure those silver dollars. When the Flaggs realized their score, the Morgan dollars were split between John and A.J.

The coins have remained in the family ever since. Until now.

Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam, Brussels and Hong Kong.

Heritage also enjoys the highest Online traffic and dollar volume of any auction house on earth (source: SimilarWeb and Hiscox Report). The Internet’s most popular auction-house website, HA.com, has more than 1,750,000 registered bidder-members and searchable free archives of more than 6,000,000 past auction records with prices realized, descriptions and enlargeable photos. Reproduction rights routinely granted to media for photo credit.

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Source: Heritage Auctions

Heritage Auctions image Heritage Auctions is the largest collectibles auctioneer and third largest auction house in the world, as well as the largest auction house founded in the U.S. We are also the undisputed Internet leader in our field, with more than 1 million online bidder-members registered on HA.com.

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