Lately, as we peruse the auction websites, we've been noticing a disturbing trend known as "commemorative issues" or "fantasy chips". Companies have been issuing chips made to look like they would have come from famous old casinos that have been closed for quite awhile, such as the Dunes, Mint, Castaways, El Rancho Vegas, Landmark, Silver Slipper, and others. These are reproductions, and not even very good ones at that, since they look nothing like any of the original chip designs. Be VERY careful when buying a chip which looks like a sweet deal. It probably is too good to be true. If in doubt, the way to tell for sure is that the mold on the outside edge of the chip will say "NEVADA", rather than have a hat & cane, or one of the other designs chip manufacturers such as Paulson would have used. Below is an example of some of them.
So you've been to a few casino chip collector's sites and you're wondering what the heck we're all talking about. Well, here are some terms you may have seen and an explanation of each.
PAULSON, CHIPCO, BUD JONES Chip makers. These are the 3 companies most widely used by casinos for new chips. Each company has it's own distinctive style, and you can easily tell the difference. I don't consider any really better than the other. Each has its good and bad points.
HOT STAMP This is a way of making chips. Generally, they're all one color, maybe with designs cut into the chip itself, done with a form that the lump of goo which will become the chip gets pressed into. The name of the casino mabe stamped onto the chip in gold or silver letters.
CHEQUES and CHIPS Some collectors use these 2 terms interchangeably, which is just fine (in my opinion-purists may feel otherwise). But, if you want to use them the right way, then always remember that cheques are the ones you can take to the cashiers window to get real cash. Chips are the ones that you'll get when you buy into a roulette table or poker table (or other tables that do the same). You'll have to hand these chips back to the dealer, who will then give you cheques equalling the amount you're cashing out for. There's more to it than this, but this is the real nuts and bolts, anyway.