ASM/CPC chip issues by time period

MrBo

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Hey all,

I'm starting this thread as a proud owner of custom ASM-Vegas (pre-Red, Michael era) chips, who is also contemplating a CPC add-on now that there are talks of getting the FDL mold back in action. I really shouldn't even be contemplating this in the first place... but, well... you know how it is. Regardless of whether I decide to eventually pull the trigger or not, I figured it might be helpful for folks to share past experiences with their own customs, specifically different issues that arose under different periods of ASM/CPC history. I also just want to add that I've been very impressed with all the sets that I've seen out of CPC so far and am so glad the Davids and Jim decided to bring back the quality and expertise that many of us have come to expect. Having them at the helm is really what makes me want to continue spewing money for more chips.

So, as far as I know, these were the main stages of ASM/CPC's history:

ASM-Maine
ASM-Vegas (Michael)
ASM-Vegas (Red)
CPC-Maine

As previously mentioned, my chips were made under Michael's reign, before things seemed to get far worse (before then also getting much better), though my customs were not without their own issues. My chips had three main issues: (1) about half my $5 denom chips were orange (as ordered) and the other half were some weird mixture of a rusty DG orange with brass flakes, (2) two of the main denoms had yellowing of 15-20% of the inlays, and (3) some of the denoms had noticeable thickness issues and quite a few chips that do not seem perfectly flat. #3 was particularly true for my $1's, which also seemed to have some very slight base color variation and quite a few split spots. Here are some pics:

a-DSC_2981.jpga-DSC_2993.jpg

First pic shows color variation in the $5's. DG orange on the left, orange on the right. Michael agreed to redo and replace all the chips that fell under issue #1 and 2, but I kind of let issue #3 (seen in the second pic) go since it was a minor issue compared to the others.

I'm kind of curious to know the following:
(1) Did anyone else have similar issues during the same ASM period?
(2) Is the thickness issue unique to the Vegas time period, or are thickness issues like mine fairly common in most custom sets? (put another way, should I replace my $1's with better CPC's!?)
(3) Does anyone else notice some slight color variation in the $1's or am I just crazy/paranoid after dealing with the $5's issue?

Feel free to share your own stories obviously. Thanks in advance for any feedback and suggestions you can offer.
 

dennis63

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Mr. Bo:

Great thread, and nice chips!

From dealing with the company, I've learned a bit about their history. It's also on CPC's web page.

The company began in the early 1900s as the "Portland Billiard Ball Co.," making, obviously, billiard balls and game pieces (chess and checkers, maybe). It was also making casino chips, including on some molds we'd recognize today, even before Vegas ushered in legal gambling in 1931. When the first casinos opened on the Las Vegas Strip in '31, Portland Billiard Ball Co., made table chips for them.

In 1935, the company changed its name to The Burt Co., for its founder, Alanzo Burt. The comapny had many famous clients, and noted on their site that one some of America's wealthiest families had Burt Company casino chips made for their game tables. There was some mention on Robert Eisenstadt's casino chip site that the company "encrypted" their client records on index cards, listing the "client name" as ice cream parlors and using some system for changing the address, as it was technically illegal to own casino chips outside of Nevada. Eisenstadt said this practice actually continued into the 1980s. The clients listed as "ice cream parlors" were likely illegal casinos connected to... well.... (Ya know wad I mean?)

I'm not exactly sure when the company changed to American Standard Molding. I do know that our friend, Jim Blanchard, ran the company as ASM in Portland, Maine, for more than 20 years before retiring back in 2011, establishing the company's sterling reputation for quality and service. (It was during this time that I had the honor to negotiate with Jim B and Josh Shore at Apache Poker Chips for the sale of the Key West line of casino chips.) And I can't forget to mention Sallie, one of the world's nicest people, who handled all the company's customers like we were the only one.

Anxious to enjoy a well-deserved retirement, Jim sold the company to Michael Dambauch, whom he personally trained in Portland. for some months.

Michael was a chip enthusiast who pushed to maintain the quality and service for which ASM had been known. He made several orders of my Key Wests for me, all flawless, and we talked regularly about making great casino chips. Michael helped move ASM to Las Vegas, as the company planned to garner some Las Vegas casino business again.

At some point around late 2012, the well-known and much-loved folks at ASM mentioned a "partner" in the business. Things began to quickly change, and it was clear that Michael and his partner had very different ideas about how high the chip quality should be, and many other issues. (Customer service and how much effort should go into small orders.) Some on chiptalk believed that the new partner was essentially making a "hostile takeover" with the intent of selling ASM to competitor Gaming Partners International.

Michael left the business, and has only occasionally resurfaced in the chip world. I personally wish he would return. (Micahel: If you are reading this, permit me to extend an invitation to join us here. Times have changed.)

The partner ran ASM for about a year, and things grew bleak for the company. There was a well-intentioned effort by four or five members of Chiptalk to buy the company, but the group wisely decided they did not have the expertise to make the casino chips like the old ASM in its Portland days. Eventually, David Spragg and David Sarles, two CC&GTCC officials with vast chip knowledge, stepped in to buy the company's machines and molds. They enlisted Jim B to return from retirement and run production again in Portland. To avoid issues with the former company name and the damage it had suffered during its time in Vegas, they renamed the new entity "Classic Poker Chips." The company was, once again, in good hands.

Today, production is back in Portland, Maine, not far from where they started over 100 years ago. They still use the same machines, molds, formulas and materials to make chips. I understand that a worker from the Burt Co., of 1931 made a clay casino chip exactly as they do in Portland (again) today.
 
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Zippity

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Wow. That is awesome. Thanks for sharing that information. It's really reassuring since I'm planning on submitting an order for custom chips soon through CPC.
 

Mr Tree

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Wow. That is awesome. Thanks for sharing that information. It's really reassuring since I'm planning on submitting an order for custom chips soon through CPC.

The current regime over there is great. David is extremely friendly and responsive and Jim B is the master.
 

SixSpeedFury

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They are great. David is quick to respond to your every need. Something the "partner" was severely lacking.
 

Mr Hanky

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Hi MrBo
I made very good experiences with two orders from CPC. One set is posted here already (Bel Air on Diamond Square), the second set from a friend (on H-Mold) will be posted as soon as I get quality pics. The order process was great and David from CPC gave me a lot of assistance. All my questions were answered on short notice. Great support and very kind.
The chips are stunning great and I would place my order again (already thinking about new designs for another set :D...). Same statement for my friend.
Mr Hanky
 

MrBo

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Thanks Dennis, for the awesome overview. I knew most of the recent history but had never read up on the pre-ASM years... very cool.

Thanks to everyone else for the feedback. I had great customer service with both Michael and Sallie when I ordered my set, which I think was one of the first out of Vegas. Still searching for answers as to whether or not the thickness/color issues I posted are a fluke or rarity in customs, specifically the thickness (see above pic - is it noticeably worse than most ASM's?). I know the later Vegas years under Mr. Evil's reign saw lots of ugly edgespots in addition to horrendous service (how can we fault someone buried under TENS of emails a day!), and have also read about issues with BCC's back in the day.

I'm certain the customer service from CPC is top-notch. Just want to be certain that I could get some replacement $1's that stack and rack as they should.
 
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