Casino Chips History

Casino chips today are integral part of all casinos. There are no casinos today that do not make use of the chips and ever since they had been first used in the 1800s they have become popular within casinos, players and of course, collectors.

Materials used in the earlier days of chips history

In the earlier days gold nuggets, gold dust and coins were used as currency while playing games. Soon the gold and coins had been replaced by chips since they were easy to count and manage. In the earlier days chips were made from wood, bone and ivory. Some were even made from shellac and clay and paper. However, the only problem with the chips was that it was easier for players to cheat at the game by adding their own made chips to the stack and cashing them out.

Characteristics of early chips

When gambling was legalized in Nevada in 1931, the casinos grew steadily. In the earlier days the casinos were smaller in size and the number of chips available with them was also limited. A dollar was then considered to be quite worthy amount of money but the lower denomination casino chips were very heavily used in casinos.

Whenever casinos closed down in those days of chips history or if the owners changed, the chips would be destroyed. For this reason it is very difficult for collectors to find chips which are very old or even if they are found they can be very costly. A single chip from that era could cost anywhere from $15,000 to $35,000 today depending on how old it is.

The evolution of chips

Very soon the casinos realized that the players were trying to cheat them by introducing their own chips to the stack. As a result manufacturers began introducing designs in the chips in order to differentiate them from the other chips. These designs were inlaid, embossed or engraved on the chips. In the earlier days the ivory chips were custom-made to have every set unique for every customer. There were no two sets which were identical.

Casino chips in clay were first made around the 1880s by many manufacturers. There was a large variety of designs available. In those days the chips were mostly white, blue, yellow and red but they could be made in any color according to the preference of the casino owner who've made an order .

The most expensive chips to be ever made in clay were those made by US Playing Card Co. These chips were made with a circular lithograph which was embedded in clay and had a seal with a special liquid. These were known as crest and seal chips and they were widely adopted by several other manufacturers later on.

Later on for less expensive chips plastic became the choice of material, especially for domestic use in the 1940s and these are even used today. The ones which are used by casinos today are made from injection molded chips or clay composition chips.

Casino chips have come a long way since they had first been introduced in the 1880s and several different materials have been used for manufacturing them over the years.

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