Gene Trimble on chips

by Gene Trimble

Trimble on chips, October, 1998


The following are excerpts from Gene Trimble’s column to be published in the November 1998 edition of Gaming Times, pertaining to research on The Sal Sagev Hotel and soon to be listed as a Hotel/Casino. Actual "DATED PROOF" does exist today, proving there was gambling at the SS. The owner of said proof was kind enough to share it with chippers everywhere.

You can read her amazing story and see pictures of the Albert Pick roulette wheel in Gaming Times Magazine. Call 702-876-6020 or email gamingtimes.com for your copy of the November'98 issue.

I have done a little research on two previous unknown or at least un-attributed chips. "I believe the chips are from the casinos named in this article". Can I be 100% sure? That is a big qualified, "YES!" I have weighed the stories and evaluated the people that told the stories. I firmly believe, that they believe, what they are saying. I am not going to name the 20 or so old timers involved in the search. Most of them have nothing to gain. The owner of the 2nd chip to be mentioned does not care if he sells them or not. The owner of the 1st chip mentioned say’s "they are not for sale". They have been kind enough to share their memories and knowledge with me. I see no reason to subject them, to what could become, overbearing and repetitive questioning. I found them with little effort and of course anyone else could. The day is fast approaching when there will not be any old timers to give us this information.

Before the GCB came into being, if you wanted a gambling license in Clark County, Nevada, Glen Jones was the man to see. He was the sheriff and Chairman of the Clark County Commission of Liquor and Gaming Board. The Sal Sagev hotel was opened in 1906 by Abe Miller. I am not sure when the name was changed to SS as it opened as Hotel Nevada.

Abe Miller did run a casino at the Sal Sagev. Roulette and BJ for sure. He used an Albert Pick roulette wheel. I have been told Albert Pick of Chicago, stopped making roulette wheels about 1950. I did not have time to confirm this.

I had a good feeling from day one of this search and could not wait to find the next old timer on the path to the Albert Pick. I knew it existed the 1st time it was mentioned to me. I regret that space keeps me from relaying all the stories I heard while researching the SS. Thank you to all of the old timers, that took the time to share the past with me.

Thank you Ma’am, for being so nice and sharing with us. The Sal Sagev chips can now take their place in the Gaming Table, where they belong.

· Authors note: · I wonder how many of us, would bother to keep, what this lady kept, for over 42 years. I personally throw it away every day every day of my life.

Sunday, 24 May 1998 Paul-Son went into business in 1963 but they did not make their own chips until the late 70's, possibly 1979. I know you must have H/C chips from these years. Guess what? They were made in Portland Ma at the Burt Co. Paul-Son Roulettes were still being made in Maine right up to the early 90's.

Bud Jones went into business in 1965. Their clay chips (not the coin inlay) were also made at Burt Co well into the 70's.

John Kendall, owner of Chipco and buyer of the Burt Co, gave me this information from memory so the years could be off a little but not much.


Wednesday, 29 April 1998 What happened to the BBC business is too many companies put out too many cards. They numbered in the Jillions. One player would be on several million cards. I do card shows at the Fiesta and they are jammed, by the way. At best a casino might put out 30,000 $1 chips. A casino like the Fiesta will issue app 15,000 $1. A far cry from millions. On top of that, they change them every couple of years. Obsoletes can only go up in value if the number of chippers doubles or triples. I am not saying Sams Club is selling them at a price a chipper will pay, but it will expose millions of people to our hobby. We need the exposure. Our hobby is diversified. You can collect riverboats, your friend Indian Reservations, and I can collect it all (as long as my money holds out.) This hobby needs to grow and it will. I truly believe Hy Grade is helping the hobby. By the way he is a chipper. Of course he is in it for the money, but he will help all of us. This hobby was the biggest secret in the world until the early 90's and the Aladdin conventions. I have been collecting chips since 1961 and thought I was the only chipper in the world until the 1993 convention. I say let the world know. Things are happening in the hobby. Some good and some bad. chips like everything else will find thier own level. If you are a true chipper, you will still be looking for chips when the level arrives. If not, you can cash them in.


Thursday, 30 April 1998 MORE-MORE ON OLD MOLDS
This could be my final installment on the subject. I talked to TR KING today. They are making Small Crown molds and the Chain mold. The Large Crown is dead for now. Gamblers General Store has converted Triclub to an injection mold. I am looking at a business card Triclub chip from GGS as I write. GGS also owns the Ewing mold but has not used it. Slim Ewing just died last year. Three companies are making clay compression chips today.

TR King opened in 1923 and started chip production in the early 30's
Paul-Son - opened 1963
Burt now Atlantic Standard - opened 1928

If you pull up - pokerchips.com - It looks to me like Alantic Standard is making the Unicorn chip attributed to Chipco. You will also see the diamond mold that Paul-Son says they own. These are clay/plastic or just plain plastic injection molded chips. They are lighter in weight. You will also see a chip, I think it was called 6 stripes. I seen it yesterday at GGS. I have a chip issued at the Rail City Casino in Sparks, Nv. It has the initials TK on it. Identifing the distributor. This is TK Speciality in Reno, Nv. Rail City bought it in Asia and sent it to TK Speciality for Hot Stamping. It is the same exact chip as GGS and pokerchips.com. Everybody has the same chip. I think it was easier tracking the old molds than it is going to be tracking the new chips.

Clay compression chips will be history soon. The 3 still making them will have to re-tool to compete. (My opinion, no one said that to me.) It will be a sad day. What if the Arrowdie is knocked off in Asia and put on a plastic chip?


Tuesday, 28 April 1998 Paul Indy, the owner of Paul-Son tells me the Diamond Mold is a Paul-Son Mold. He calls it the Todd mold. This is the mold we accredit to the Jack Todd Co. Jack Todd is or was the distributer for the mold. Paulson went into business in 1963. I came home and checked my chips and I have diamond mold chips issued way before 1963. My guess is Jack Todd transfered the diamond mold from the Burt Co in 1963. Will post results of this hunt as soon as I get them. Gee, I love the history of chips.


Saturday, 25 April 1998 The posting of ID's for who produced the Triangle, HHR & HHL & Crest and Seal molds sent me in search of answers. Here are the results that will be in my June column of Gaming Times. Special thanks to John Kendall-Chipco, Jim Blanchard-Atlantic Standard, Don Jarktow-Gamblers General Store/Langworthy.

From 1928 through Paul-Son's entry into the market only 3 companies actually made compression molded chips. US Playing Card, TR King, and The Burt Co in Portland. All others were distributers of chips made by these 3 companies. Burt actually produce 95% of all old molds. In 1947 Burt bought USPC molds and then there were only 2. John Kendall bought Burt and converted HHR & HHL to injection molds. Samples were made and sent to salesman. No actual chips were ever sold from these molds. Chipco sold all of Burts molds to Atlantic Standard including the rights HHR & HHL. Atlantic Standard has converted some old molds such as Die Swirl, LKey & HHR to modern manfacturing standards. All other old molds still exist today. It is very costly to convert them and the chance of reserecting other older molds is very slim. Langworthy is no longer exclusive distributers of HHR.

If you have a clay compression molded chip and you can not trace it to TR King or trace it to USPC pre 1947 it was made by Burt. Paul-Son, TR King, Bud Jones, and Atlantic Standard are the only companies making True clay compression molded chips today. Others are a plastic/clay composition. You have probably seen the last of Burts grand old molds such as Arrowdie,Triangles,L's, T's,Slant S's, Hrglass, Cord, Harp, Sqincr, & Hub.


Saturday, 25 April 1998 In my search for the origins of old molds there is one other item chippers should know. The Burt Company did not hot Stamp chips. They felt hot stamps were easy to change and therefore easy to counterfit. Thus if a distributer ordered 10,000 HHR chips without an Inlay, the distributer put the hot stamp on. Burt had no records of where they were used, only the distributer that placed the order. The records are not computerized and they are way too busy to do searches. I am told TR King will do searches for a small fee. I have not got around to TR King yet. Atlantic standard is still making many of the chips used today.


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