Steve Forte has been a passionate gambling collector for over 25 years. After moving to Las Vegas when he was 20, he became friendly with John Luckman, owner of the Gambler s Book Club. Before his passing, Mr. Luckman gave Steve several pairs of obsolete dice from the early Las Vegas clubs. This started his passion for collecting casino dice, but it didn t stop there. Steve began collecting specialty dice, dice substitutes, casting devices, dice games, layouts, and everything connected to the genre of dice . . . even astragali, logs, and other dice implements from antiquity.
Some years later, Steve attended a 52 Plus Joker convention, the national club for playing card collectors. He was overwhelmed by the astonishingly diversity of playing cards. This started his passion for collecting the pasteboards, which lead to an interest in antique dealing shoes, dealing boxes, card presses, dealing devices, shuffling machines, and other related artifacts.
Given a very successful career in the casino security field, his interest in cheating apparatus of all kinds from all eras was a natural.
After dabbling in casino chips for a short period, he purchased the largest collection of obsolete casino chips known to exist, which at the time consisted of over 800,000 chips! This acquisition naturally sparked his interest in other forms of counters along with jetons and plaques, tokens, caddies and chip racks.
Steve then began collecting tables, layouts, carnival games, lottery artifacts, punch boards, pocket devices, and the list goes on and on. His wide-spread interests have culminated in an amazing variety of gambling collectibles, and he considers no artifact trivial if it helps tells the story of dice, playing cards, chips, tables/layouts, games, and cheating. While it s true that most gambling collectors are specialists, Steve is an exception to the rule, and many have described the Forte Gambling Collection as one of the most diverse gambling collections in the world, featuring many collections within a collection!
Finally, first inspired by his friend and fellow Bostonian, Ray Goulet, and his comprehensive library of gambling books and later by his routine visits to the Gambler s Book Club, he has always enjoyed gambling books, which lead to a passion for collecting antiquarian titles.
In 2009, Steve s collection was sold at auction with parts of his collection first going to friends with specialized interests. But it was not before every detail of the collection was photographed. Approximately 50,000 photographs were taken to preserve the history of every artifact, book, and piece of ephemera, and it has always been Steve s plan to one day author a book on gambling collectibles. So, welcome to a museum of gambling treasures. The variety will undoubtedly surprise you, which is why I m confident that the artifacts and their stories will be interesting, enjoyable, and informative, and that the Forte Gambling Collection will offer something for everyone!
Jason England - January 2022