A customer e-mail prompts a discussion about chip prices

dennis63

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Inlaid chips as we know them were only invented around the 1940's. Those historic prices are almost certainly for hot-stamps or even blanks. Burt Co. did not sell hot-stamped chips, they only ever supplied blanks for distributors to stamp themselves.

Some 'naturally occurring' ingredients are no doubt scarcer now than they were back then. Another factor is that until 20 years ago, all pigment (which pound for pound is by far the most expensive ingredient) contained lead. I suggest that the R&D to find substitute pigment ingredients over the last 20 years ago is reflected in the current prices.
Ingredient prices alone make little difference to the final cost though, labor and utilities comprise 80%+ of the cost of a finished chip (unless an awful lot of material is lost to wastage in the early stages of production).

I always assumed the H & C in H C Edwards were Mr Edwards initials but I've yet to find anything to indicate that or otherwise.

You're right, of course. All those early chips selling for $8 per 100 were solid blanks.

I'm also thinking of "real" inflation, compared to the U.S. Consumer Price index. The CPI was changed in the 1990s, and is a pretty poor reflection of the real increases in the cost of good and labor. The latest incarnation of the "basket" of goods used to calculate the CPI always shows an increase of 2 or 3 percent per year. Using the "old" basket, it's closer to about 10 percent per year, suggesting that those 1929 chips were closer to $2 each in today's dollars.
 

David Spragg

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You're right, of course. All those early chips selling for $8 per 100 were solid blanks.

I'm also thinking of "real" inflation, compared to the U.S. Consumer Price index. The CPI was changed in the 1990s, and is a pretty poor reflection of the real increases in the cost of good and labor. The latest incarnation of the "basket" of goods used to calculate the CPI always shows an increase of 2 or 3 percent per year. Using the "old" basket, it's closer to about 10 percent per year, suggesting that those 1929 chips were closer to $2 each in today's dollars.

One thing I don't believe the CPI really takes into account is that prior to the 1990s you didn't have minimum wage. Some of those 1920's workers were probably close to slave labor :)
 

Poker Zombie

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One thing I don't believe the CPI really takes into account is that prior to the 1990s you didn't have minimum wage. Some of those 1920's workers were probably close to slave labor :)

Actually, minimum wage in the United States dates back to 1938. It was mostly a joke until the 1990's. I remember the days of laboring away for a splendid $3.35 an hour. Then again, gas was only $1 a gallon, my car was 15 years old and only had 1 working door, and if someone broke into my flat, they would have left a note of apology.

If present me had a time machine, I would go back in time to past me and say "This one chipset costs more than everything you own", and laugh maniacally. 30 years later I would finally get the joke :D
 

dennis63

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My first job in 1979 was at a diner for $1 per hour, plus tips. (Restaurants were exempt from the minimum wage, which was $2.90 per hour at that time. )
 

dennis63

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It appears "Harry" is the most likely name / meaning for the "H" on the chips, though I'm not certain.

There was a prominent artist and illustrator living in New York -- not far from the H.C. Edwards Co.'s address -- in the early 1920s. His name was Harry C. Edwards. It is possible he was the same "H.C. Edwards" involved in the poker chip company (or a son). He was born in Philadelphia in 1868. His family moved to New York when he was a child, and he attended school in NYC. He died in May, 1922.
 

David Spragg

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It appears "Harry" is the most likely name / meaning for the "H" on the chips, though I'm not certain.

There was a prominent artist and illustrator living in New York -- not far from the H.C. Edwards Co.'s address -- in the early 1920s. His name was Harry C. Edwards. It is possible he was the same "H.C. Edwards" involved in the poker chip company (or a son). He was born in Philadelphia in 1868. His family moved to New York when he was a child, and he attended school in NYC. He died in May, 1922.

That must be it. The 1920's HCE catalog (which doesn't mention chips) includes art related design work etc.

In fact this has to be it. Look what I just found....
http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/lookupname?key=Edwards, H. C. (Harry C.), 1868-1922
"The Private War.........." - published by Alonso Burt!!!!!!!!!!
 

dennis63

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That must be it. The 1920's HCE catalog (which doesn't mention chips) includes art related design work etc.

In fact this has to be it. Look what I just found....
http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/lookupname?key=Edwards, H. C. (Harry C.), 1868-1922
"The Private War.........." - published by Alonso Burt!!!!!!!!!!

Yes. He went by "H.C." in his lifetime, and I imagine there was some natural connection between being an artist and book illustrator (publishing) and the making of things like playing cards and poker chips. The connection to the Burt Co., seals it. (They probably played cards together.)

It was "Harry."

Thanks, David.

And to all who posted and joined me in trying to guess the name, we were all wrong! Great guesses, though:

dennis63 guessed Horatio
Shaggy guessed Harold
BGinGA guessed Herbert
PokerZombie guessed Howard
Mental Nomad guessed Howard (Three Stooges fans, no doubt)
Ben guessed Hiram
Courage guessed Hiram
Mr. Tree guessed Hieronymus
Mago guessed Henry
 
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OldMan

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Remember working for $5 a day in my dad's machine shop sweeping floors and cleaning lathes. A few years later was paying 0.19 for gas and occasionally 0.15 during the"gas wars". Remember the first year
I paid taxes on 10k earnings and thought I had it made. The "good ole days" weren't always that good looking back now.
I have a cash set of Key West (.25/.50 game) 600 chips (not counting the 240 $1 blue chip). Also a HU set,working on a tourney set - love the Key West chips as do the players.
Thanks Dennis
Roy
 

MD Mike

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We don't use the "need" word around here.
This post was something special. I laughed. I cried. It was heartwarming.

It made me think about a purchase I just made for 500 Key West chips. I also bought some racks for my Milanos and other chips. When I went to put my Milanos into the racks, one rack had 25 chips of empty space. I was saddened and thought:

Shit, I need to get more chips to fill this out. But I should get more than 25, because that's too small of an order to make it worth it. But if I get more, I won't have enough racks for all my Milanos. If I don't get more Milanos, I won't have enough chips for my rack.

#FirstWorldProblems
 

Anthony Martino

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When I went to put my Milanos into the racks, one rack had 25 chips of empty space. I was saddened and thought:

Shit, I need to get more chips to fill this out. But I should get more than 25, because that's too small of an order to make it worth it. But if I get more, I won't have enough racks for all my Milanos. If I don't get more Milanos, I won't have enough chips for my rack.

#FirstWorldProblems

Not sure if they would work, but I can ship you 25 blue Milanos ($10 denominations) no charge to fill out the rack if you want
 

MD Mike

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Not sure if they would work, but I can ship you 25 blue Milanos ($10 denominations) no charge to fill out the rack if you want
Oh wow, that's super awesome to offer!! But I was just trying to be funny showing that our problems aren't that serious compared to things like world hunger and zombie apocalypses.

It's true that I have a rack missing 25 ! But I will buy 125 Milanos sometime down the road :)

Thank you for being so awesome though but I would of course compensate you if you tried to give me something for free!
 

MD Mike

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Oh wow, that's super awesome to offer!! But I was just trying to be funny showing that our problems aren't that serious compared to things like world hunger and zombie apocalypses.

It's true that I have a rack missing 25 ! But I will buy 125 Milanos sometime down the road :)

Thank you for being so awesome though but I would of course compensate you if you tried to give me something for free!

Here is the original MEME I was referencing (first world problems).

Just think about poker chips and racks instead :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:


image.jpeg
 

Anthony Martino

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Oh wow, that's super awesome to offer!! But I was just trying to be funny showing that our problems aren't that serious compared to things like world hunger and zombie apocalypses.

It's true that I have a rack missing 25 ! But I will buy 125 Milanos sometime down the road :)

Thank you for being so awesome though but I would of course compensate you if you tried to give me something for free!

Not a problem at all, I've been the recipient of plenty of kind gestures from this community and had some Milanos hanging around and figured I'd dump them your way before they started causing trouble and picking on the other chips.
 

Poker Zombie

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I figured it was because hot dogs are so damned difficult to cook, you have to account for 20% wastage. (n) :thumbsdown:
 

Poker Zombie

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I was tickling the keyboard, but they wouldn't work for a relabel project.

...and 99 tilts me a little.

If anyone here does order them, please stress how to properly ship chips. His ad:

I am not an expert in poker chips and everything is sold AS IS.

Fail to inform him, and you will likely get a box of dust.
 

Meddler2

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So Harry died relatively young (54). Any idea what was his cause of death?
 
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