About Chip Collecting
People who collect casino chips (called “chippers”) do so for a few different reasons. Some people like the artwork on the chips. Although most people don’t look at poker chips as works of art, they have a heavy focus on aesthetics, specifically color combinations and proprietary artwork designs. Other collectors appreciate casino chips as historical artifacts since gambling has a long history that goes back quite far in almost every culture. Other collectors specialize in collecting gambling-specific paraphernalia. Casinos, especially the older ones, have always had interesting stories behind them, given the mob money that was attached to some of them, and the regulatory and moral environments they had to operate under.
Many of the chips may have been “collected” accidentally by people who forgot to cash them in, or kept held onto them privately by slipping them into their pocket as a personal memento, without thinking that they would later be contributing to preserving history.
Casino chips are a particularly interesting item to collect because, like other currencies, casino chips have intrinsic value in addition to collector value. Ironically, even though the intrinsic value of those old chips disappeared after they were cancelled, their non-intrinsic value (i.e. their value as a collectable) ended up surpassing their intrinsic value.
Like all collectables, the condition of the chip is a major factor in determining its worth. A chip that is cracked, nicked, faded, warped, stained or damaged in any way is worth much less than a chip in mint condition. Although new chips are ideal, most chips will have some damage, like worn edges, due to being used.