Posts Tagged ‘antique poker chips’


Antique Poker Chips

   Posted by: CaptYak    in Gambling Items

When you’re talking Old West and Poker Chips you’re talking either Ivory Poker Chips or you’re talking Clay Poker Chips.

Ivory chips came first and date from 1820 to the 1870′s. They were made from the tusks of Elephants or Whales and though costly held up well from all the play. Two type of chips existed those with numbers etched in them or those with designs. They ranged in size from 1 ” to 1 5/8″ but like all things there were exceptions. Todays market finds few Ivory chips and those that are available are rising in value. In Dale Seymour’s acclaimed book, “Antique Gambling Chips” it mentions that 1400 different chip designs have been found.

With the development of man-made compounds “Composition Chips” soon became the norm as they were manufactured at a fraction of the cost of Ivory Chips. This made Ivory Chips far to expensive which signaled the demise of Ivory chips.

By the 1880′s chips made from “Celluloid” had taken over the market and could be found in virtually every Saloon offering games of chance. Just think about it for a minute, Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp, two well known gamblers from the Old West period may have actually played with those “CelluloidChips” you now own.

Celluloid chips can be found in many of the Antique stores today and range in price depending on condition, quantity and if they are contained in the original box or a chip rack.

Regarding pricing of celluloid chips, what you pay per chip will differ greatly from what you will pay for an entire box of chips. By this I mean if you find a chip valued at, for example, $4.00 and then find an entire box containing 100 of the very same chip you would pay but a fraction of the $4 per chip. In fact, it may be more like .25 per chip.

Composition chips were made with paste-on’s, engraved, embossed or inlaid. Many chips reflected the times by depicting current trends whether it be bicycles or baseball, ect.

Celluloid made chips were marketed under various trade names with Pyralin and Catalin being two of the first.

I should also mention that other materials were also used to make chips such as wood, bone, paper and hard rubber.

I can’t promise you that the selection of chips available at Old West Antiques were played with by anyone famous buy I can assure you we have a very nice collection to choice from.

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Gambling Items, from the Old West period

   Posted by: CaptYak    in Informational

Old West Gambling items can range from pocket size; Dice, Saloon Tokens, Poker Chips, Spinners, Card Holdouts, or a Roulette Ball to as large as a full size commercial Roulette table. No matter the size of the item you are collecting it is wise to buy the very best you can afford. Yes, you will pay more now but in the future it will also be worth far more than a less expensive version of the same item.

When buying it is important to consider condition, age, desirability and the wholeness of an item.

Condition relates to how close an item comes to being in its original state. If a Tobacco Tin is perfect in every way but for a dent, it’s condition would not be considered “Excellent”.

Age has to do with whether an item rates being considered an antique or just vintage or a reproduction. Nowadays many reproduced items are of such good quality it is very difficult to tell the real thing from a fake.

Desirability is subjective but if you are not drawn to a particular item don’t expect that others will be either. Think in terms of  “down-the-road” when you are ready to sell. The item will be much easier for you to sell if you have or had a fondness for it when you bought it.

Wholeness deals with a piece being all original with nothing missing or nothing replaced. Expect to pay a premium for an all-original item. Bite the bullet and make the purchase. Yes it may hurt a bit now but down the road you will pat yourself on the back for being so smart and such a wise buyer.

As with all things in life, the more homework you do the better prepared you will be when it comes to buying now and selling in the future.

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