Crest & Seal

BGinGA

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I've often heard people ask "Why is it called a Crest & Seal chip"? (including me). I finally found the answer.

Crest & Seal chips were made by United States Playing Card from 1907-1947, and for a period of time by Burt Co. after they bought the USPC molds.

The Crest & Seal name is derived from how they were made:

No stock designs were carried by the company, but rather a specific design element (initial, monogram, or mark) was made to customer specifications and printed on white opaque material (called the 'crest'), and then laminated with a thin layer of transparent material (referred to as the 'seal'). The checks were supplied in square edge, dull linen finish, or round edge and polished, and they were guaranteed to be counterfeit-free and not reproducible.

You can scrape a C&S chip with your fingernail and there is no physical change where the chip ends and the inlay begins, due to the seal. USPC also made inlaid Crest chips (no seal), but those have a definitive edge that you can feel where the inlay starts.

il_570xN.823494854_2dm7.jpg
 

charitycase

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Crest & Seal chips were made by United States Playing Card from 1907-1947, and for a period of time by Burt Co. after they bought the USPC molds.
Not the first time you've contributed info like this to the forum.
You should build a comprehensive history thread or something similar.
 

Colquhoun

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Curious what “Paranoid Inlaid” on the box means. :nailbite:

edit: Just did a bit of research and found this interesting advertisement from 1909:
Screen Shot 2020-06-06 at 1.32.00 AM.png


Still wondering about "paranoid"...maybe a name of an early plastic, like celluloid?
 
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allforcharity

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Curious what “Paranoid Inlaid” on the box means. :nailbite:

edit: Just did a bit of research and found this interesting advertisement from 1909:
View attachment 471540

Still wondering about "paranoid"...maybe a name of an early plastic, like celluloid?

Interesting. I don't know if I've seen any Octo, Arrowhead, or Three-Ring. The others are quite plentiful, along with the various religious symbols (Maltese Cross, Crescent and Star, Swastika, Star of David, etc.).
 

mtl mile end

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So many questions, so many comments, so few normally functioning brain cells right now.

As to "Paranoid", I believe it has been anecdotally established that this must be a composition material description.

The Crest and Seal description makes sense. This leaves me with the burning question; why do I call these "Die Cut"? The description above rules out a die cut method, the images are printed on an inlay. The freaking box says inlaid (although that could mean a die cut inlay).

Tomorrow, there will be a close (50X) examination of my fleur de lis "die cut" set. :unsure:
 

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I'm a little skeptical of the explanation of the word "seal" here.

I see from Allan Myers' page about crest-and-seal chips and the Burt Company promotional flyer reprinted there that the chips (called "Seal and Crest" in the flyer) use a printed inlay with the customer's custom artwork, and that the artwork is laminated with transparent material for protection. The flyer doesn't say that the entire chip is laminated with this transparent material, and it seems to me that only the printed inlay would be. I assume the process would be: print the artwork on paper or plastic sheets, laminate the sheets with the transparent material, cut out the circular inlays, then place them within the chip mold to press them into the finished chip.

Of course, I could be completely wrong; I'm just guessing. But whether the inlay or the entire chip was laminated for protection, I don't think that "seal" refers to this protective lamination.

I think "seal" was intended to mean the same thing that "crest" means - an emblem or insignia, as in for example The Great Seal of the United States, referring not just to the physical impression-making device but also to the design the device makes impressions of. So USPCC / Burt Co was urging customers: Get custom-made chips for your organization, using your organization's seal or crest!

As far as the inlay being "sealed" on a C&S chip vs. on a Bud Jones chip, as described by Allan Myers on that page ("There are chips presently being made by Bud Jones, mostly roulettes, that are similar to Crest & Seals, except that there is no “seal.” You can feel the edge of the inlay by running your fingernail across the chip surface. You can not feel the inlay on a C&S chip.")... If he's referring to, for example, Bud Jones chips such as the Intercontinental Casino chips that I just got samples of, it's true that you can easily tell where the inlay is by feel, but that's because the inlay (or rather adhesive label, I assume?) is placed into a recess in the chip, and what you're feeling isn't the inlay border but rather the recess border.

By contrast, on the various Paranoid die-cut inlaid chips that I have examples of, in most cases you'd be hard-pressed to tell by feel where the borders are between the die-cut inlays (crescent moon and star, iron cross, comet, scimitar, etc) and the chip base material that the inlays are pressed into, even by dragging a fingernail across the chip face. The chips are smooth all the way across, and only rarely can you tell that there's a microscopic gap between the inlay and the chip if your fingernail catches momentarily on the gap. [I don't have any crest-and-seal examples to compare and test for myself to see just how smooth they are across the inlay border... I suppose I should get some! :) ]

In other words: I think the edges of crest-and-seal inlays are hard to spot not because they've been sealed, but rather because they've been inlaid - using normal (?) compression molding methods. And contrariwise, I think the chips were called "seal and crest" by the manufacturer not because they'd been sealed, but rather because they had the customer's seal (or crest, or insignia, or logo) printed upon the inlay.
 

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Based on this archive of Robert Eisenstadt (RIP) reporting on his contemporaneous conversation with Jim Blanchard in September 2000, I think my interpretation must be correct. "Seal" doesn't refer to a protective coating across the entire chip, which would also cover over the microscopic gap between an inlay and a base chip surface; chips weren't manufactured that way. So "seal" most probably refers to "insignia" in the same way that "crest" does, and chip collectors thinking otherwise when referring to whatever chips they've been referring to when they use the term "crest and seal" have almost certainly been perpetuating a misunderstanding.
 

allforcharity

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This is also my interpretation of "seal" in this context. Like how you would seal a document by dripping wax on it and then authenticating it by pressing down on the hot wax with your personal signet ring.
 

mtl mile end

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I forgot about this thread.

My Fleur de Lys "Crest and Seal" chips are definitely die cut. I can see under 50X magnification that the FdL is "clay" and the surrounding white area is "inlay". The area surrounding the inlay area is "clay" as well. There is no discernible edge between the negative space (FdL), the white inlay material, nor the outer ring. Everything may well be under a round "seal", however there is also no discernible difference in feel between the face and the edge (both clay). The actual edge itself is slightly rounded and feels very much continuous in terms of material - there is no evidence of a laminate.
 

CrazyEddie

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Science!

1596501425684.png


the FdL is "clay" and the surrounding white area is "inlay". The area surrounding the inlay area is "clay" as well

Most of my Paranoid-style symbol chips are the same way - the symbol and the chip are the same material and color, and the white "background" "behind" the symbol is an inlay. Oddly, though, I have a handful that are the opposite! The symbol is a white (dirty-faded-yellow-ish) inlay, and it's a white figure on the chip-colored background, with no inlaid circle!

1596501814346.png


the nice thing about standards is that we have so many to choose from
 
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CrazyEddie, you've dug up a lot of good research. I too had assumed until your post that the "seal" was a protective plastic layer over the entire chip. In many cases, such as the chip (to the left) in my avatar the protected celluloid/plastic layer does cover most of the chip.

You may have come across this already, but Richard Hanover has probably the best timeline on how crest and seal chip manufacture has changed over time. You can see it here; http://www.oldpokerchips.com/CSdates.htm

Like many things, the term crest and seal is probably defined differently by different people. I too am a little confused about the difference between a crest and seal and inlaid chip. In my experience the paranoid chips were more often referred to by collectors as being inlaid. That is how Dale Seymour referred to them, and he wrote the comprehensive guide to these types of chips. An online version of his guide is posted online; https://www.antiquepokerchips.com/2013/Inlaid.pdf

Also Hanover gives a definition too of what a crest and seal chip is, and also mentions that the clear coating is just over the inlay.
"At the top of the pecking order of these clay chips are what are known as Crest and Seal (C&S) chips. These chips, besides being old, plain mold with litho inlay, have a relatively thick, clear coating covering the inlay. This protective layer is thick enough to allow light scratches and cigarette burns to be removed via the use of a scouring pad, steel wool or light grit sandpaper. The surface of a crest and seal chip should be smooth enough such that, with eyes closed, the inlay cannot be distinguished from the rim of the chip."
 
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There is little logic to the name if "seal" is not the concept of the sealing the printed inlay under another layer making the center inlay part level with the rim part of the base material. The word "crest" to describe the print is possibly chosen to be a parallel to "seal", not because the print necessarily contained a crest (probably more often something else), but because it made a wordplay with "seal".
 

RussB42

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I have a set of these in the classified, if anyone wants to see what they look like.
 

CrazyEddie

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Jeff, thanks for those pointers, especially Dale Seymour's document! That's amazing. I wish I'd seen it a month ago, when I was considering whether to collect Paranoid inlays. I don't think it would have changed my decision, but just being able to see the variety of them would have been great.

Like many things, the term crest and seal is probably defined differently by different people.

Bearing in mind that I'm brand new to the hobby, I have no wish to overturn the ideas that decades-long collectors have worked out over the years. But I will nevertheless put forward my own impressions for people to take or leave as they see fit.

I too am a little confused about the difference between a crest and seal and inlaid chip. In my experience the paranoid chips were more often referred to by collectors as being inlaid.

From the limited evidence I've seen so far (USPCC ads from the early 20th c) "inlaid" in that context refers to one of several different types of Paranoid chips: inlaid vs. engraved vs. plain. And "inlaid" seems to be an accurate description of them - the symbols were die-cut from some kind of thin material and then placed into the mold to be pressed into the chip's surface (I presume), just like is done today with modern compression clay inlays. And the resulting chip thus had the symbol inlaid into it, in the same sense that a piece of fine woodwork might have some details in a contrasting wood inlaid into it.

It seems like the crest and seal chips also had "inlays", again similar to modern chips, where the customer's graphic was printed and cut and then pressed into the chip within the compression mold, making the printed circle an inlay. So a "crest and seal" chip could be considered an inlaid chip, but I think there's a useful reason to distinguish between the two. The crest and seal chips used lithographic printing to print the customer's crest or seal onto the inlay, whereas the inlaid chips used die-cut unprinted plain material for the inlays. And as a consequence, crest and seal chips were custom-made for each customer, whereas inlaid chips were offered in stock designs to the general public for common use.

There is little logic to the name if "seal" is not the concept of the sealing the printed inlay under another layer making the center inlay part level with the rim part of the base material.

I think the inlay would be level with the rim of the base material no matter what simply because it would be pressed into the base material by the compression mold. No seal is required for that. You can see the same effect in the Paranoid inlaid symbol chips - the symbols are level with the chip surface all the way across the entire chip face, but there's nothing covering over the chip face, and the inlaid symbols aren't themselves laminated or sealed, they're just die-cut bits of plastic. The protective lamination over the printed circular inlay on a crest and seal chip isn't there to seal the chip, it's there to protect the ink and paper from the heat and pressure of the compression mold and from wear during use.

... I think. Again, I'm just making guesses based on what I've seen so far.
 
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Jeff, thanks for those pointers, especially Dale Seymour's document! That's amazing. I wish I'd seen it a month ago, when I was considering whether to collect Paranoid inlays. I don't think it would have changed my decision, but just being able to see the variety of them would have been great.



Bearing in mind that I'm brand new to the hobby, I have no wish to overturn the ideas that decades-long collectors have worked out over the years. But I will nevertheless put forward my own impressions for people to take or leave as they see fit.



From the limited evidence I've seen so far (USPCC ads from the early 20th c) "inlaid" in that context refers to one of several different types of Paranoid chips: inlaid vs. engraved vs. plain. And "inlaid" seems to be an accurate description of them - the symbols were die-cut from some kind of thin material and then placed into the mold to be pressed into the chip's surface (I presume), just like is done today with modern compression clay inlays. And the resulting chip thus had the symbol inlaid into it, in the same sense that a piece of fine woodwork might have some details in a contrasting wood inlaid into it.

It seems like the crest and seal chips also had "inlays", again similar to modern chips, where the customer's graphic was printed and cut and then pressed into the chip within the compression mold, making the printed circle an inlay. So a "crest and seal" chip could be considered an inlaid chip, but I think there's a useful reason to distinguish between the two. The crest and seal chips used lithographic printing to print the customer's crest or seal onto the inlay, whereas the inlaid chips used die-cut unprinted plain material for the inlays. And as a consequence, crest and seal chips were custom-made for each customer, whereas inlaid chips were offered in stock designs to the general public for common use.



I think the inlay would be level with the rim of the base material no matter what simply because it would be pressed into the base material by the compression mold. No seal is required for that. You can see the same effect in the Paranoid inlaid symbol chips - the symbols are level with the chip surface all the way across the entire chip face, but there's nothing covering over the chip face, and the inlaid symbols aren't themselves laminated or sealed, they're just die-cut bits of plastic. The protective lamination over the printed circular inlay on a crest and seal chip isn't there to seal the chip, it's there to protect the ink and paper from the heat and pressure of the compression mold and from wear during use.

... I think. Again, I'm just making guesses based on what I've seen so far.
In any case, the printed paper was sealed from being destroyed in use by a protecting celluloid layer. That "seal" should mean a depiction of a seal is without any logic to me. The innovation of the chip type is the sealing over the print, not a depiction of seals (which it probably didn't often do). So in my logic you name the type after what is specific to it. And the sealed print is the defining innovation. And as I mentioned "crest" was I presume a smart way of making a pun or marketing gimmick of the double meaning of "seal" representing the print part of the innovation. "Print and seal" or "Sealed print" doesn't sound fancy, does it.
 

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That "seal" should mean a depiction of a seal is without any logic to me. The innovation of the chip type is the sealing over the print, not a depiction of seals (which it probably didn't often do).

I think the innovation of the chip type is providing a chip with an inlaid lithographically-printed design custom-made for the purchasing club rather than using a stock design, whether die-cut inlaid, engraved, embossed, or plain. The Burt Company flyer describing them says:

Our Seal and Crest are the very finest checks made and are absolutely guaranteed against ringers. No designs are carried in stock. These are made up special from customers' specifications with sketch sent in with order. A design which may be initial, monogram or private mark is printed on white opaque material and laminated with a thin layer of transparent material. This protects printing from wear.

See http://www.marlowcasinochips.com/links/allanmyers/cands/cands.htm and in particular http://www.marlowcasinochips.com/links/allanmyers/cands/am1_9s.jpg

Using lamination to protect the printing is an important innovation, in that it allows the chip to use a printed inlay at all. But the value to the customer is not in the lamination, it's in the ability to use a printed inlay with a custom design so as to - as the flyer says - protect against ringers (duplicate chips). The lamination is described accurately as "lamination"; the flyer doesn't call it a seal, and I think it would be odd to call a protective lamination a "seal".

The printed design, on the other hand, was expected by Burt Co to be an initial, a monogram, or a private mark; such designs can be accurately described using the words "crest" or "seal". In other words, these types of chips - chips with lithographically printed inlays - were marketed to clubs with the expectation that the clubs would put their crests, seals, insignia, symbols, initials, monograms, or other distinctive emblems indicating their ownership on the printed inlays, making the chips impossible to duplicate.

See also here, where John Benedict says that some older chip catalogs refer to some litho inlay chips as "crest OR seal". This suggests that the relevance of the two words is not that the chips have some kind of crest and also have some kind of seal (i.e. the crest is printed and then the printed crest is sealed), but rather that the customer can have their crest or seal or insignia or symbol or other custom artwork printed on the inlay.
 

BGinGA

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I think the innovation of the chip type is providing a chip with an inlaid lithographically-printed design custom-made for the purchasing club rather than using a stock design, whether die-cut inlaid, engraved, embossed, or plain. The Burt Company flyer describing them says:



See http://www.marlowcasinochips.com/links/allanmyers/cands/cands.htm and in particular http://www.marlowcasinochips.com/links/allanmyers/cands/am1_9s.jpg

Using lamination to protect the printing is an important innovation, in that it allows the chip to use a printed inlay at all. But the value to the customer is not in the lamination, it's in the ability to use a printed inlay with a custom design so as to - as the flyer says - protect against ringers (duplicate chips). The lamination is described accurately as "lamination"; the flyer doesn't call it a seal, and I think it would be odd to call a protective lamination a "seal".

The printed design, on the other hand, was expected by Burt Co to be an initial, a monogram, or a private mark; such designs can be accurately described using the words "crest" or "seal". In other words, these types of chips - chips with lithographically printed inlays - were marketed to clubs with the expectation that the clubs would put their crests, seals, insignia, symbols, initials, monograms, or other distinctive emblems indicating their ownership on the printed inlays, making the chips impossible to duplicate.

See also here, where John Benedict says that some older chip catalogs refer to some litho inlay chips as "crest OR seal". This suggests that the relevance of the two words is not that the chips have some kind of crest and also have some kind of seal (i.e. the crest is printed and then the printed crest is sealed), but rather that the customer can have their crest or seal or insignia or symbol or other custom artwork printed on the inlay.
I think you're beating a dead horse to death.

I also think you're wrong, clinging to the slightest bit of circumstantial evidence that supports your claim while ignoring the majority of which disputes it.
 

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Curious if anyone uses these with any regularity? I look at a lot of them for the vintage and nostalgia, but I’d never use a set.
 

mtl mile end

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Curious if anyone uses these with any regularity? I look at a lot of them for the vintage and nostalgia, but I’d never use a set.
I have not put my set into play yet, but the problem is going to be chip thickness. It's badly inconsistent with my set. But the set is large enough that I could probably weed out the outballs,...............wth a micrometer,...............and hours of tedium.
 

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I think you're beating a dead horse to death.

My apologies. If there's no interest in the discussion I'll stop.

I also think you're wrong, clinging to the slightest bit of circumstantial evidence that supports your claim while ignoring the majority of which disputes it.

I'm curious to know which evidence you think disputes my claim.
 

allforcharity

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It was said with affection.

But you were thinking about it - weren't you?

I was thinking about it in theory. I was wondering if anybody had done it. I have no more paranoids, so I can't do it. I don't plan on buying any paranoids just so I can indulge in this debauched fantasy. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CAN'T A MAN WONDER OUT LOUD?!?!?!? :vomit: Damn, that's another thing I'm going to have to bring to confession.
 
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