Beautifully engraved certificate from the Hotel Lucerne Corporation issued
in 1929. This historic document is hand signed by the Company’s Vice President and Secretary and is
over 73 years old. The company was incorporated in California. The certificate was issued to and endorsed on the verso by Milton Prell.
Resort building continued to accelerate in Las Vegas in the 1950s. Wilbur Clark, once a hotel bellman in San Diego, Calif., opened the Desert Inn in 1950. Two years later, Milton Prell opened the Sahara Hotel on the site of the old Club Bingo. The Sands Hotel opened that same year, 1952. Those hotel names have survived but the properties have undergone numerous ownership changes. In 1955, the Riviera Hotel became the first Strip highrise in at nine stories. Previously, Wilbur Clark's Desert Inn had offered guests the highest unobstructed panoramic view of the Las Vegas Valley from the resort's third-floor Skyroom, a cocktail and dancing haunt of visitors, residents and celebrities.
The Aladdin's roots go back to 1962 when New York toy manufacturer Edwin Lowe opened an English Tudor-style motel named the Tally-Ho. It offered no gambling and lasted 10 months. The motel reopened in 1964 as King's Crown. Milton Prell, one of the state's early gambling figures, bought the resort in 1966 and named it the Aladdin. In ensuing years, the resort faced a host of financial and legal problems. Mob figures from St. Louis, Detroit and Tokyo were found to have had their fingers in the genie's till at various times.
Jan. 1, 1966 - Milton Prell and his associates buy the Tally Ho Hotel for a reported $16 million. The Tally Ho, which opened in 1963, never had gambling. April 1, 1966 - A remodeled Tally Ho - now called The Aladdin - opens. Prell conducted $3 million worth of remodeling before opening The Aladdin. The resort features 400 rooms, a par 54 golf course, five restaurants, four swimming pools and the 500-seat Baghdad Theatre. Comedian Jackie Mason headlines at the Strip's first new resort in nine years. Other opening acts: "Jet Set Revue" put together by Dorothy Dorbeno and a musical-comedy review that showcased the Three Cheers and the Petite Rockette Dancers. THE ALADDIN was once the Tally Ho. Take a look at the hotel's beginning in this QuickTime movie. Download size: 1.1 Mb. Duration: 21 seconds.
Resort building continued to accelerate in Las Vegas in the 1950s. Wilbur Clark, once a hotel bellman in San Diego, CA, opened the Desert Inn in 1950. Two years later, Milton Prell opened the Sahara Hotel on the site of the old Club Bingo. Despite numerous ownership changes, the Sahara and Desert Inn continue to survive. The Sands Hotel, a showroom and playground for entertainment greats, opened in 1952. The Sands closed in 1996 to make way for a new megaresort and on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 1996, at 2 :00 a.m., the Sands Hotel tower disappeared in a rumbling cloud of dust and grit when owner Sheldon Adelson directed that the structure be imploded. In 1955, the Riviera Hotel became the first Strip high-rise with nine stories. Previously, Wilbur Clark's Desert Inn offered guests the highest unobstructed panoramic view of the Las Vegas Valley from the resort's third-floor Skyroom, a cocktail and dancing haunt of visitors, residents and celebrities. In December 1997, the Desert Inn finished a $200 million construction and remodeling project that transformed the opulent hotel into a five-star resort property. Other resorts opened during the 1950s building boom included the Royal Nevada, Dunes, Hacienda, Tropicana and Stardust hotels on the Strip and the Fremont Hotel-Casino downtown. The Royal Nevada later became part of the adjoining Stardust Hotel property. The Moulin Rouge Hotel-Casino opened in another area of the city in 1955 at a time when blacks, as well as black Strip entertainers, were not welcomed guests at Strip casinos. The Moulin Rouge, frequented by all races, was built to accommodate the growing number of black travelers and entertainers. Joe Louis, the late heavyweight champion of the world, was a Moulin Rouge owner-host and, at the time of his death, was a loved casino host at Caesars Palace Hotel on the Strip. The Moulin Rouge experienced a stormy history, closing and re-opening many times over the years. The property was declared a national historic site in 1992. City and county community leaders also realized in the 1950s the need for a Las Vegas convention facility. Their goal was to fill hotel rooms with conventioneers during slack tourist months. A site was chosen one block east of the Las Vegas Strip and a 6,300-seat, silver-domed rotunda with an adjoining 90,000-square-foot exhibit hall opened in April 1959 on the site of the current Las Vegas Convention Center. The World Congress of Flight was the center=s first convention. The silver dome was demolished in 1990 to make room for convention center expansions to a 1.9-million-square-foot facility including 12 exhibit halls, 107 meeting rooms and parking for more than 5,000 cars. It is currently one of the largest single-level facilities in the world. The latest expansion opened in late 1998. A walkway was built to cross over Paradise Road in front of the Convention Center. The walkway connected to a parking area and a new visitor center which was constructed on the site where the Landmark Hotel once stood. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, supported mainly by room tax revenues, today is a major player in attracting more than 30 million visitors annually to Las Vegas, including more than 3 million convention delegates. ENTERTAINMENT IS LAS VEGAS Entertainment, along with gambling, built Las Vegas' reputation as a play land getaway for the world. When the El Rancho Vegas was the only resort on the Las Vegas Strip in 1941, singers, comedians, strippers, instrumentalists, dancers and a wide variety of performers entertained hotel guests in the resort's small, intimate showroom. The hotel-casinos that followed copied the successful star format for a number of years. The Stardust was the first hotel to break from the star policy by debuting a stage spectacular as its main entertainment feature. The resort imported the Lido de Paris from France. It was acclaimed by critics as a more spectacular version than the Paris original. The Lido had a 31-year run at the Stardust Hotel. It was replaced in 1991 with the spectacular "Enter The Night." "Enter The Night" closed on January 1, 2000 to make way for headliner Wayne Newton. The success of Lido encouraged other resorts to adopt a production show policy. The Dunes featured Minsky's Follies in 1957, the first time showgirls debuted topless on the Las Vegas Strip. The Dunes was imploded in November 1994 by owner Steve Wynn who opened the $1.7 billion Bellagio on the site on Oct. 15, 1998. The Tropicana Hotel bought the American rights to the spectacular Folies Bergere in 1959. The show celebrated its 40th anniversary in December 1999 and remains a current showroom favorite. During the 50s and 60s, casino lounges also provided continuous entertainment from dusk to dawn at no charge to the customer except the cost of a drink. These lounges, which became major entertainment attractions in their own right, spawned the names of Don Rickles, Buddy Hackett, Shecky Greene, Alan King, Louis Prima and Keely Smith, the Mary Kaye Trio and many others. NO HOLDS BARRED During the early years of the Las Vegas Strip, "no" was a big word -- no cover, no minimum, no state speed limit, no sales tax, no waiting period for marriages, no state income tax and no regulation of gambling as it is known today. In modern times about the only "nos" remaining are no state income tax and no waiting period to obtain a marriage license. No cover charge is still the rule in some casino lounges. The state legislature subsequently imposed sales taxes and strict gambling laws and regulations. The federal government forced Nevada, as well as other states, to adopt highway speed limits. The limits were eased in 1995, however, and drivers can now legally cruise at 75 mph on some lonesome stretches of Nevada=s interstate freeways. Nevada gambling styles, games and machines evolved to keep pace with more sophisticated, affluent players. Baccarat, known in France as chemin de fer, appeared in high-roller Strip casinos. Keno writers no longer used black indelible ink brushes to mark tickets. Mechanical slot machines, once affectionately termed "one-armed bandits," became antique collector items in the age of electronic gaming. Blackjack dealers no longer dealt single decks but switched to "shoes" that held multiple decks. Silver dollars, once the coin of the realm in Nevada, disappeared and were replaced in casinos with silver-dollar-size tokens. In the 60s, multiple coin slot machines debuted. Mechanical penny and nickel slot machines that took one coin at a time evolved into the popular computerized slot machines capable of accepting multiple tokens simultaneously. High-roller slot players today can find machines that accept $500 tokens. Slot machines linked to statewide networks pay progressive jackpots in the millions. The jackpot grows each time coins drop into any of the more than 700 networked machines located in scores of casinos throughout Nevada. A megabucks jackpot paid $27.5 million in 1998. The progressive Megabucks jackpot exceeded $30 million by early 2000. In the 70s, video machines substituted television screens for reels. Computerized slot machines now feature poker, keno, blackjack, bingo and craps. Some slot machines accept credit-card style gambling. Casinos continue their evolution toward high-tech wagering with every applicable breakthrough in modern technology.
May 2, 1967 - Elvis Presley and Priscilla Beaulieu are married at the Aladdin Hotel. Feb. 18, 1967 - The Aladdin is sold for $16.5 million. April 23, 1968 - Owners of the Fremont Hotel-Casino and the Aladdin Hotel discuss a merger. Sept. 27, 1968 - The Aladdin, Fremont Hotel merger is approved by stockholders. The Recrion Corp. becomes the owner of the Aladdin, Fremont and Stardust. May 23, 1970 - The Nevada Supreme Court rules that the Aladdin was liable when one of its dealers punched a customer in the eye after the customer called the dealer an obscene name. Nov. 8, 1971 - The Aladdin Hotel is sold yet again. This time it is sold to an investment group headed by longtime Vegas gaming figure Sam Diamond. Sale price was $5.125 million. Dec. 16, 1971 - The Nevada Gaming Control Board OKs sale of the Aladdin, but says three of the proposed purchasers were unacceptable to the state. Charles Goldfarb - a Detroit Bail Bondsman - his brother Irwin Goldfarb and George J. George - a Detroit businessman - were called unsuitable because of past and present associations with unsavory characters. While the board members said that the men's money was clean, their associations made it difficult to OK them for licensing. The three Detroit men would later drop out of the group that purchased the Aladdin. Dec. 22, 1972 - The Nevada Gaming Commission OKs an emergency loan of $200,000 from Peter Webbe - an Aladdin stockholder from St. Louis, Mo., to the Aladdin to tide over the hotels operation through the holiday season. July, 1973 - Sorkis Webbe, legal counsel for the Aladdin - refuses to get a gaming license. May 23, 1974 - In a daring daylight robbery, a thief snatches $10,000 from an Aladdin bacarrat table and then jumps feet first down a construction chute. The man went 35 feet down the chute and came out near a building adjacent to the hotel parking lot. There he got into a waiting car. The theft was one of a series of two-man thefts from hotel bacarrat tables. Dec. 16, 1974 - The Aladdin is accused of giving free rooms, meals and liquor to at least 20 reputed organized crime figures and associates from St. Louis and Detroit. Dec. 22, 1974 - Four men plead innocent of bilking the Aladdin out of $250,000 by using a phony junket where they assumed the identity of legitimate gamblers. Jan. 29, 1975 - Aladdin announces plans for a 700-room high rise addition. Included in the expansion would be convention space, 1,000 seat showroom and 500-seat Bingo room. Estimated cost $30 million.
March 18, 1976 - Sorkis Webbe, legal counsel for the Aladdin Hotel, is acquitted of tax evasion charges stemming from losses he claimed in a now-defunct Hollywood film company. Webbe's attorney argued that the U.S. Justice Department's organized crime strike force in St. Louis was "out to get" Webbe although it had no evidence against him. June 1, 1976 - The Aladdin opens its new tower. July 16, 1976 - A federal grand jury in Tuscon investigates alleged kickbacks by contractors involved in construction of the Aladdin's $60 million addition. Dec. 17, 1976 - The Aladdin Hotel-Casino complains that it feels it has been discriminated against. Specifically the Aladdin wanted to know why the commission would require a license of James Tamer, the hotels entertainment director. The Aladdin argued that Tamer was not a key a figure at the hotel. The commission noted that Tamer advised the hotel to borrow $5 - $6 million more to complete the Aladdin's Theater of the Performing Arts. This, a commission member said, suggested Tamer had authority with the hotel's management. July, 1976 - Neil Diamond becomes the first entertainer to perform in the $10-million Aladdin Theater for the Performing Arts. The theater seats 7,500 - three times the number of any Las Vegas Showroom at the time. April, 1977 - A Detroit Federal grand jury investigates a $25 million loan made by the Teamster's Union pension fund that the hotel used to build a new 20-story hotel and the Theater for the Performing Arts. May , 1977 - The Nevada Gaming Commission keeps an eye on a federal grand jury investigation into an alleged hidden ownership of the Aladdin Hotel. The grand jury investigation in Detroit looks into allegations that bail bondsman Charles Goldfarb and several reputed organized crime figures - specifically Vito "Billy Jack" Giacalone - along with James Tamer, the Aladdin's executive producer, were the hidden owners of the hotel. The grand jury was also looking at whether there was a possible skimming of hotel cash, influence peddling and manipulation of the Teamsters Central States Pension fund. The government said the syndicate was "stressing the fact that gamblers from Detroit should utilize the Aladdin Hotel....(because) it is controlled by the Detroit outfit." Aug. 19, 1977 - The Nevada Gaming Commission orders that Aladdin Casino shift boss Eddie Monazum to undergo a licensing and background check and directed commission agents to determine how involved James Tamer, entertainment director, was in hotel functions. The investigations were ordered even as a federal grand jury investigates possible hidden owners in the Aladdin. Tamer and Eddie Monazum's brother, Charles Monazym, were among those being investigated. October, 1977 - Reports surface that the Hyatt Corp of Texas may be interested in buying the Aladdin Hotel. Oct. 14, 1977 - Two offers on the Aladdin discussed - one from the Hyatt Hotel Corp and a second from a Group of Texas financiers headed by Saul Rogers of Beaumont. Nov. , 1977 - A Group of Texas investors lead by Sol Rogers are poised to buy the Aladdin for $25 million and assume the hotel's $38 million debt on an outstanding loan owed to the Teamsters Union Central States Pension Fund. Sept. 14, 1977 - Clark County District Court Judge Harry Claiborne grants an preliminary injunction to keep the Aladdin Hotel open. The Nevada Gaming Commission attempted to shut down the hotel after the conviction of Aladdin executives on hidden ownership charges. October, 1977- The Tuscon investigation into possible kickbacks in the construction of the Aladdin's $60 million addition is transferred to Vegas. 1977 - Stars play the Aladdin Theater for the Performing Arts. Stars who performed in 1977 included: Bing Crosby, Yes, Jefferson Starship, Earth, Wind and Fire, Doobie Brothers, Smothers Brothers, Cheech and Chong, Gladys Knight and the Pips and Alice Cooper. The theater also earns the "Trendsetter Award" from Billboard Magazine. March 20, 1978 - Tamer files suit against the Nevada Gaming Commission asking that he not be required to undergo licensing scrutiny. Aug. 3, 1978 - A federal Grand jury in Detroit hits the Aladdin Hotel, three of its top bosses and a Detroit bail bondsman with a 22-count racketeering indictment. Listed in the indictment were James Tamer, James Abraham, Eddie Monazym, Charles Goldfarb. Alleged hidden owners of the Aladdin include Vitto "Billy Jack" Giacalone, alleged Detroit street boss of rackets for the Tony Zerilli Mafia Crime Family of Detroit and St. Louis. Aug. 10, 1978 - The Nevada Gaming Control Board refuses to take action on a number of license issues regarding the Aladdin hotel pending further investigation. Nov. 21, 1978 - The Aladdin Hotel is reportedly sold to Colonial Commercial Corp. out of Philadelphia for $50 million. Dec. 24, 1978 - A U.S. District Judge tosses out all but one count of the indictment in the Aladdin case. The judge rules that the government must focus on its allegation that Goldfarb and Tamer illegally ran the Aladdin Hotel. Jan 24, 1979 - The deal for Colonial Commercial Corp. to buy the Aladdin falls through. March 13, 1979 - The Aladdin Hotel Corp. and four individuals - James Tamer, Edward Monazym, Charles Goldfarb and James Abraham - are convicted in Detroit of allowing hidden underworld interests to exert control over the hotel-casino. March 15, 1979 - The Nevada Gaming Commission issues an emergency order suspending the Aladdin's state gaming license in the wake of conspiracy convictions of James Tamer, Edward Monazym, Charles Goldfarb and James Abraham in Detroit. Tamer, Monazym, Goldfarb, Abraham, Richard Daly, Sam Diamond, Peter Webbe, Mae Ellen George were all ordered to stay away from the Aladdin. March 17, 1979 - Former Golden Nugget Vice President Leo Lewis is put in charge of the Aladdin by the state Gaming Control Board. Lewis
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