How good was this chip score? +pr0n

Silver_Fiend

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So a few days ago @colter ripton put out a notice about some chips for sale close to me. OK, "close" is relative, it was a 300 mile round trip. My first contact reply was that someone had already said they wanted them, then got a message a couple days later asking if I still wanted them.

So heres the deets and the pr0n. 2 Jack-Todd 1000 chip cases with 1623 diamond mold chips in 3 flavors. There are 527 red $1, 780 blue $5, and 316 orange $25. $12,327 face value, with an inflation adjusted total of $246,000. Someone had some very rich games, or maybe just rich plans. I cant help but wonder if this started as a 2000 chip set and some disappeared over time. The seller said he found them in an attic at an estate sale, but didnt know the family name or exact location. I'm hoping I can sleuth out who might have had this very nice chip set, 70-80 years ago.
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The cases are in rough shape. The glue holding them together is failing, the chip inserts can be removed and some are slightly cracked by can be glued and sealed. I'd like to re-build the cases since they are original, but they look pretty cheaply built and I dont know if its possible.

The chips themselves are marvelous. Some show a tiny amount of face wear, but most still have texturing. All of them have crisp, sharp corners and are flat as glass. weight checks for 10-stacks show orange are 105gms, reds are 104 and blues weigh 102

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I know these are Todd chips and they were in business from 1933 to 1950(IIRC), when this mold was sold to Christy by the heirs, and then to Paulson. J-T comes from Kansas City, MO and supplied everyone from casinos, to home games, to illegal gambling operations. So now a few questions.... Anybody have more detailed information on the company, its timeline, owners info, etc? What are your guesses on age? early or late J-T? Are these "leaded" chips? How hard are early diamond mold chip to find? I would love to find 100 of another solid color and turn them into fracs for this set, and maybe another 100 for hundo chips, but I know I'm probably being wildly optimistic. Which leads to the final question. Value? I'm curious both for what this set is worth, as well as what it might cost for my additional chips.
 

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Silver_Fiend

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FDLmold

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If this is Todd from the dates you mentioned, they are not leaded. When Paulson made chips on this mold, they were leaded.
 

mtl mile end

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If this is Todd from the dates you mentioned, they are not leaded. When Paulson made chips on this mold, they were leaded.
Yeah, I guess it's a semantics thing. When members on this forum say a chip is "leaded", they seem to be referring exclusively to the Paulson process (that ceased in 1998-ish ?) that has tons of lead in it. But lead was a common (perhaps the most ubiquitous) chemical found in almost all coloured pigments in the Twentieth Century and previously. I have no doubt if you did an NMR test on any clay chip of the early 20th Century, they would be found to contain some lead. So I'd say while these are not "leaded", they should be considered "not 100% lead free". In other words, don't assume that they will react like leaded Paulson chips, but don't let a kid suck on them. :nailbite:

EDIT: changed "paints" to "pigments"
 

colter ripton

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Those are cool man. Didn't think they were diamond molds. Hard to tell from the pictures on the post.

As far as value? I think that .35 a chip seems about right. You should be able to find some more for fracs and 100s also. They pop up from time to time.

Colter
 

Silver_Fiend

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Like the many, many products that introduced radioactive material into households, I bet you could find some chips with uranium if you looked hard enough (and had a death wish).
Thats what made me think of that. Uranium was used as an orange color agent in the 30s-50s to right in the same time line. I may take an orange chip to work and check it for any radioactive decay.
 

BGinGA

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Don't recall exactly when Jack Todd started selling diamond molds (@Jeff in Iowa probably has more info on the order card dates), but if it was prior to 1947, the chips were likely made by USPC (before the Burt Co. purchased their mold assets in 1947-ish).

It's possible (and my guess) that JT only offered them from 1947 until his death in 1952(?), in which case they would have been made by Burt Co.

But in either case, a relative low- or no-lead material formula would have been used.
 

upNdown

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Nice score! Personally, I would price them roughly equal to Starburst chips of similar condition, taking into account their rarity.
I’ll take the under on that one. Starbursts are so much more popular than diamond molds.
Earlier this year, somebody here sold me 900+ L molds for a hundred bucks. These chips aren’t a straight up apples to apples comparison, but it’s a good illustration as to what vintage clays sell for.
I think he got a good deal on these chips. I’d value them at something like 30 cents apiece - far less than I’d value Paulson leaded THC starbursts.
 

allforcharity

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I’ll take the under on that one. Starbursts are so much more popular than diamond molds.
Earlier this year, somebody here sold me 900+ L molds for a hundred bucks. These chips aren’t a straight up apples to apples comparison, but it’s a good illustration as to what vintage clays sell for.
I think he got a good deal on these chips. I’d value them at something like 30 cents apiece - far less than I’d value Paulson leaded THC starbursts.

That's fine. It's only my opinion. I don't come across entire playable sets of clay diamond molds just about ever, Paulson or not. Worth a premium. Would be good to customize, too, after milling.
 

Silver_Fiend

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That's fine. It's only my opinion. I don't come across entire playable sets of clay diamond molds just about ever, Paulson or not. Worth a premium. Would be good to customize, too, after milling.
Milling was something I was thinking about... before... I fondled these chips. These arent worn casino chips, they are so pristine. It feels wrong to take a set that has survived for so many decades and start grinding them down for stickers.
Is it possible that they were used for tournaments? Or were tournaments not a thing when these were made?
I dont think poker tournaments existed back then. IIRC, Binion invented the idea of tournaments.
Maybe they were used as cash (pennies).
Thats a possibility, although these seem like an awfully expensive set in their day to represent pennies.
 
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Silver_Fiend

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Hey @Josh Kifer , what did you ever do with that massive haul of diamond chips you scored a few years ago?
 

BGinGA

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Think back to commom gambling games in that era that required gaming tokens. Poker was rarely a consideration. Faro and craps were much more frequently played in illegal gaming places.
 

ekricket

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I honestly think they did the 4:1 or 5:1 thing too, buy in for $25 and get $100 in chips. They didn’t have money to buy extra denominations, so they bought a “standard” set and adjusted accordingly. Maybe even 20:1?
 

Silver_Fiend

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Think back to commom gambling games in that era that required gaming tokens. Poker was rarely a consideration. Faro and craps were much more frequently played in illegal gaming places.
wow, even into the 30s and 40s? I thought poker had taken the lead over faro by then, but I'm far from an expert. I hadnt thought about craps.
 
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