Casino chip collecting has really taken off in the last ten years or so and with the increase in interest, prices paid for casino chips have also gone up. About twenty years ago, casino chips rarely sold for more than $100. Now, though, collectible poker chips can carry four- and even five-digit price tags. As with any collectible, rarity and condition go into determining a casino chip’s value, but there’s more to it than that. If your thinking about starting a collection or wondering about the value of those poker chips you forgot to cash in at the casino last time, here are some tips on finding out how much a casino chip is worth.
Get a price guide
The best way to get an accurate idea of the monetary value of your chips is to look them up in a price guide published by the Casino Chip Gaming Tokens Collectors Club (CC and GTCC). This price guide, the Official U.S. Casino Chip Price Guide, is the only comprehensive guide to U.S. casino chip prices. For die-hard collectors, the CC and GTCC publishes a quarterly magazine, Casino Chip and Token News, which also contains tips on appraising casino chips. If you specialize in chips from one or just a few U.S. states, there are also price guides available for individual states. These are easier to find in Midwestern and Western states. If you’re just getting interested in casino chip-collecting and aren’t ready to invest in a price guide yet, you can get a feel for how much your chips are worth at Web sites like www.chipguide.com. Online guides can help you find pricing information on chips from around the world, too. Keep in mind that these buying guides aren’t just for looking up the value of the chips you already have. When you go out to buy more poker chips for your collection, the guides will help you tell genuine chips apart from the fakes.
Of course, there’s a logic that goes into determining the value of the casino chips listed into those price guides. Here are some factors that affect how much a poker chip might be worth.
You might think that, as with coins, the rarest or oldest casino chips are the most valuable. This isn’t always true, though. Collecting casino chips is a little like collecting sports memorabilia in that collectors are interested in the story behind what they’re buying. This is usually the story of the casino the chips originated from. One of the most popular kinds of stories is about illegal gambling houses that started up in the Midwest towards the end of prohibition. Poker chips from these establishments are known as “illegal chips.” The drama and intrigue surrounding the illegal casinos catch a lot of people’s imaginations, which gives greater value to the poker chips associated with them. Many collectors believe the value of illegal chips will continue to increase as more people get interested in casino chip collecting.
The backstory is important, but as with most collectibles, rarity does factor into the monetary value of the piece. Rare poker chips aren’t just the old ones from long-closed casinos, either. A lot of casinos produce limited-edition chips series and these are extremely popular with poker chip collectors. These limited editions generally focus on the theme, such as casino grand openings and anniversary, celebrities such as sports figures or performing artists, or even animals. The series tends to span a year, with a new chip coming out every few weeks or so. Besides limited edition casino chips, canceled chips are also highly prized, especially if they come from a well-known casino. These are chips that have been marked in a certain way to make them obsolete without destroying them. This is usually done by drilling a small hole, stamping, or notching the edges of the chip.
Beauty and condition
How aesthetically attractive a chip is also affected its value. In casino chip collecting, buyers tend to prefer chips with eye-catching images and intricate patterns. While the design on the poker chip should look good, ideally it should also provide some information about which casino the chip is from and how much it was worth in that casino (denomination). The condition of the casino chip is another thing to consider. During games, poker chips are handled a lot and often get chipped, scratched, and dirty. A little wear is expected, especially with a very old poker chip. In general, though, the less wear the better. The CC and GTCC have come up with a system for describing the condition of a chip, ranging from new to damaged. Canceled chips have their own category.
Casino chip collecting may never outpace stamp collecting or coin collecting, but it is picking up speed and there’s more and more money to be made with the hobby. If you’ve gathered a pile of poker chips from the casinos you’ve visited, try looking them up in a casino chip price guide. You may be surprised by what you learn. Moreover, if you are not that into this casino chip collection thing, then you also have your online casino at situs poker online that you can try and win money online.