Looking for the BEST – CHEAP chips - for ME!

TX_Golf_N_Poker

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They are BCC (Blue Chip Company), a now defunct manufacturer of clay chips. They are similar to Paulsons, but have a distinct feel and aesthetic. Fantastic chips, and that Ian a really cool microstakes set.
Thanks. Yes, they are cool chips, AND already include pre-labeled nickels!!! I'm sure they're awesome, just too few chips at too high of a price for ME.
 

TX_Golf_N_Poker

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OK, you guys have been MORE THAN AWESOME!!! 60 replies in 12 hours. Lots of great ideas and a few more things to think about and talk about. I think my biggest conflict now is the DaVincis. Some of you say better than Milanos and others say they're going to crumble into dust. At the clearance prices I'm looking at, I think I'm willing to take the chance. I can't believe the whole set will become unusable within a few years, so if it's just a few chips at a time, then all the more reason to buy lots of extras.

I added this as an update to the OP as well.
 

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chipsandgames.com will hit you with $20 shipping right away. Really your shipped price starts at $25 for 50 chips. The good news is though the more you buy your shipping wont go up as much. The mass set I bought from here cost $70 shipped for 1,000 chips and I'll never part with it.
 

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Disagree. Dunes v2.0 are worth it, see attached pic!

The Dunes do look very nice; but I've heard people say they are more prone to chipping / breaking b/c the design is so close to the edge. Also, I'm not a huge fan of the oversized label. But, yes, I will concede that when I made my remark about China Clays, there were bound to be some sets that were as nice as the Royals.
 

TX_Golf_N_Poker

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chipsandgames.com will hit you with $20 shipping right away. Really your shipped price starts at $25 for 50 chips. The good news is though the more you buy your shipping wont go up as much. The mass set I bought from here cost $70 shipped for 1,000 chips and I'll never part with it.
Yes, I've put some in my cart and priced out the shipping. I just would like to get my hands on a few of them to be sure I like them. Then I can pull the trigger on a big buy.
 

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@TX_Golf_N_Poker yeah, unless you love the art, then you're right, ceramics might not be for you. Full customs are also probably out of budget. But it was just a thought. Some people might have been like ZOMG, I must have those DDLMs!

But I get that you might want a different feel, hence the China Clays. I still think you'll have lots of options within that family, but you gotta feel them first. Also, I almost have to say that a China Clay requires oiling. Yes, I know it doesn't ... but to get the most of your chip, learning how to oiling it correctly can bring out the colors you're looking for and help to make it more durable.
 

TX_Golf_N_Poker

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Interesting that you would link to those chips. I'm expecting a sample set of Lucky Horseshoes to be delivered today or tomorrow from the same vendor. I believe they are the same or very similar chips with a different mold and different label. Yes, these could absolutely be an acceptable tournament set.
@Beakertwang The Lucky Horseshoes arrived today. You were correct, these are very nice slugged chips! Much better than the slugged Claysmith samples I received a few days ago. Those chips are more slippery and had some bits of plastic hanging off the edges. And these have flatter sides and sharper corners. They sorta stand on edge. The Claysmith chips are more rounded or beveled. I could live with these as my tournament set.

Now to get some daVincis in hand to see if they are what I want for my cash set.
 

Beakertwang

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@Beakertwang The Lucky Horseshoes arrived today. You were correct, these are very nice slugged chips! Much better than the slugged Claysmith samples I received a few days ago. Those chips are more slippery and had some bits of plastic hanging off the edges. And these have flatter sides and sharper corners. They sorta stand on edge. The Claysmith chips are more rounded or beveled. I could live with these as my tournament set.

Now to get some daVincis in hand to see if they are what I want for my cash set.
Those chips from Discount Poker Shop are definitely my favorite of the cheapies.
 

Sunshine

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The “spirit molds” are available here for 7¢ for unlabeled solids, 10¢ for unlabeled spotted chips, to 13¢ for labeled DaVinci and Pyramid Casino chips. They really do feel and sound more like actual clay chips than any other inexpensive option. Be warned, they tend to be very fragile. Flaking, chipping, flea bites, breaking, etc. are all common. The solids are particularly easy to break.

Figured I'd chime in in case you're considering this route. I've had a set of labeled china clay Spirit molds -- Pyramids Casino, 5 through 1000 -- for over a decade and they've been fine. I've since bought lots of Spirit molds on clearance. The labeled Pyramids chips I've added -- 1s, more 500s and more 1000s -- have all been good, no problems. Can't imagine a better chip at this price point.

Whether it's due to storage, protection offered by the labels, difference in composition, <other thing I haven't thought of>, the unlabeled ones have been a different story. The ones I bought were a single base color with a single edgespot color. The red with blue are unusable due to crumbling. Probably not a coincidence that they're really dry. Only thing in my experiments that maybe helped a little was a long (like a week) soak in mineral oil. The green with light green were a little better and the grey with black a bit better still. Wouldn't recommend any of them, though.

I can't speak directly to the solid color chips, but others have said they're perhaps the worst of the bunch. I also can't speak directly to the unlabeled chips with a base color and two edgespot colors. I'm hopeful that they'll be more like the labeled ones (which also have two edgespot colors) and will likely try the pink ones with blue and purple spots soon.

And if someone wants to sell me some more Pyramids 25 or 100, say the word!
 

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@Beakertwang The Lucky Horseshoes arrived today. You were correct, these are very nice slugged chips! Much better than the slugged Claysmith samples I received a few days ago. Those chips are more slippery and had some bits of plastic hanging off the edges. And these have flatter sides and sharper corners. They sorta stand on edge. The Claysmith chips are more rounded or beveled. I could live with these as my tournament set.

Now to get some daVincis in hand to see if they are what I want for my cash set.
I can mail you some samples of the spirit mold chips
 

TX_Golf_N_Poker

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Figured I'd chime in in case you're considering this route. I've had a set of labeled china clay Spirit molds -- Pyramids Casino, 5 through 1000 -- for over a decade and they've been fine. I've since bought lots of Spirit molds on clearance. The labeled Pyramids chips I've added -- 1s, more 500s and more 1000s -- have all been good, no problems. Can't imagine a better chip at this price point.

Whether it's due to storage, protection offered by the labels, difference in composition, <other thing I haven't thought of>, the unlabeled ones have been a different story. The ones I bought were a single base color with a single edgespot color. The red with blue are unusable due to crumbling. Probably not a coincidence that they're really dry. Only thing in my experiments that maybe helped a little was a long (like a week) soak in mineral oil. The green with light green were a little better and the grey with black a bit better still. Wouldn't recommend any of them, though.

I can't speak directly to the solid color chips, but others have said they're perhaps the worst of the bunch. I also can't speak directly to the unlabeled chips with a base color and two edgespot colors. I'm hopeful that they'll be more like the labeled ones (which also have two edgespot colors) and will likely try the pink ones with blue and purple spots soon.

And if someone wants to sell me some more Pyramids 25 or 100, say the word!
Thanks for all the information. What you're saying sounds a lot more balanced than someone just telling me that they're all going to crumble into dust! I would think the blanks with two edge spots would be the exact same chip as the labeled ones. Or maybe not? I have been talking to a member on here who has a large collection for sale. His are almost all labeled Casino daVinci. If I can't work a deal with him, then another option is the ones in that post you linked. I'd get some $1 labeled chips, some of the pink with two edge spots for quarters, and the red with two edge spots for $5. I also want a 5 cent chip, so I thought I might try the solid color greens or blues. But maybe not if they're the worst of the bunch. I guess at $3.50 for 50 it wouldn't cost mush to get a couple of stacks and try them out. Although, given the cost of shipping, I would prefer to just get everything I want at once. I don't care at all for the looks of the ones with just one edge spot, so I'll pass on them.

I read an article on one of the vendor sites that talked about soaking the china clays. They said to only use two tablespoons of mineral oil to a gallon of water. Is that enough mineral oil to do any good? What ratio did you use?
 

Sunshine

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I read an article on one of the vendor sites that talked about soaking the china clays. They said to only use two tablespoons of mineral oil to a gallon of water. Is that enough mineral oil to do any good? What ratio did you use?

I didn't try any mixing. Only tried both water and mineral oil individually. Some quickie tests with heating in water as well. Didn't actually take much mineral oil, couple tablespoons in a Ziploc, about 5 chips, then press out as much air as possible before sealing. Again, wouldn't call it a substantial success or anything, but maybe it helped a little. Also, tried something weird with off-brand ArmorAll wipes. No dice.

If you found an article someone wrote up, they were probably more organized and careful about it than me, and I'd be interested to see it.
 

TX_Golf_N_Poker

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I didn't try any mixing. Only tried both water and mineral oil individually. Some quickie tests with heating in water as well. Didn't actually take much mineral oil, couple tablespoons in a Ziploc, about 5 chips, then press out as much air as possible before sealing. Again, wouldn't call it a substantial success or anything, but maybe it helped a little. Also, tried something weird with off-brand ArmorAll wipes. No dice.

If you found an article someone wrote up, they were probably more organized and careful about it than me, and I'd be interested to see it.
HERE it is. It's on Apache's site, so I assume they know what they're talking about. But I think this is more for general care and shining them up. I do think a higher oil mix would be needed if we were trying to prevent crumbling. So you've had no problem with the labeled ones?
 
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I'm going to go a slightly different route, and say to just buck up and get the Royals. Just like stash a few bucks away here and there so the wife doesn't know and get basically the best China clay set out there.
 

BGinGA

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Although there are several credible reports to the contrary, none of my spirit mold chips have crumbled. All were purchased long ago, so none had been stored under unknown (or questionable) circumstances.

The crumbling may have to do with the specific composition of various chips (colors), although I don't think anybody has ever performed a comprehensive study taking into effect all of the possible variables that could cause it.

It's also not exclusive to just the spirit mold china clays -- several different molds have had issues.
 

TX_Golf_N_Poker

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I'm going to go a slightly different route, and say to just buck up and get the Royals. Just like stash a few bucks away here and there so the wife doesn't know and get basically the best China clay set out there.
It has nothing really to do with the wife. I just threw that in there. I'm the cheapo. Also, I don't really think I want a whole set of 43mm. I will say though, I'm considering an offer I got for a set of Pharaohs. A set that has a nickel chip!!!
 

TX_Golf_N_Poker

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The Cadino Da Vinci chips are far superior to the Milano chips. They were one of the very first china clay chip designs (made by Eastony Industries for DaVinci Imports) using the spirit mold, and are much closer in sound and feel to real clay chips than the more modern plasticized china clays sold today.

Although no longer produced, the older spirit mold china chips were widely sold with other themed artwork (Pryamid Casino, etc.) and also as blanks (no labels) with a variety of different edge spots and colors (mostly 4d14 pattern), meaning that there are a large number of them in existence -- which you might pry out of hiding in the used chip market, typically at 20c-25c or less.

There may be other scattered stashes of new old stock (mostly blanks) still out there on various old web sites that could be garnered at a discount, but will require some dedicated searching.

Afaik, there aren't any older-style china clay chips that offered nickel denominations except for the Pharaoh's Club & Casino, which although on a different mold, can be reasonbly paired with the spirit mold chips.

There were also a large number of similar-material china clays made using other molds (Dunes, Desert Palms, greek key, among others) that used either similar spot patterns or 8V spots, that would work as part of an older cc set.

They all turn up in the PCF classifieds and other places (ebay, craigslist, facebook, etc.), but if you're looking for a single turnkey solution meeting all of your requirements and within your budget constraints, it's simply not gonna happen. It will take time, patience, and money.
You seem to be a real wealth of knowledge on these spirit mold chips. They are so nice looking, it's really surprising that they stopped making them. Do you know the reason why? I do see other new chips branded as daVincis on ebay and Amazon. But they're all cheaper slugged chips that are not to my taste. Nothing like these classy spirit mold two edge spot chips. They almost look TOO MUCH like some of the Paulsons. There is one Paulson chip I've seen that has a nearly identical label. Did they get sued over their design?

You mentioned that Pharaohs Club chips match well with spirit mold chips. What about Majestics? I see that they also produce a nickel chip. Chips and Games sells enough variety in blanks that I could cover my .25, $1 and $5 chips very cheaply. Then I could buy nickels from Apache in either the Pharaohs Club or the Majestic. I prefer the look of the Majestic nickel over the Pharaoh, even though the labels clash more with the daVincis. But that approach would pretty much get me covered for a cash set.
 

Beakertwang

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You seem to be a real wealth of knowledge on these spirit mold chips. They are so nice looking, it's really surprising that they stopped making them. Do you know the reason why? I do see other new chips branded as daVincis on ebay and Amazon. But they're all cheaper slugged chips that are not to my taste. Nothing like these classy spirit mold two edge spot chips. They almost look TOO MUCH like some of the Paulsons. There is one Paulson chip I've seen that has a nearly identical label. Did they get sued over their design?

You mentioned that Pharaohs Club chips match well with spirit mold chips. What about Majestics? I see that they also produce a nickel chip. Chips and Games sells enough variety in blanks that I could cover my .25, $1 and $5 chips very cheaply. Then I could buy nickels from Apache in either the Pharaohs Club or the Majestic. I prefer the look of the Majestic nickel over the Pharaoh, even though the labels clash more with the daVincis. But that approach would pretty much get me covered for a cash set.
If you’re labeling them anyway, why not add another color of spirit molds and get nickel labels? At 10¢/blank, plus labels for 20-30¢/chip, you’ll spend the same amount. Majestics or Pharaoh nickels will look and feel out if place with a spirit mold set.
 

BGinGA

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If you’re labeling them anyway, why not add another color of spirit molds and get nickel labels? At 10¢/blank, plus labels for 20-30¢/chip, you’ll spend the same amount.
Yeah, I'd go ^that^ route. The Pharaoh's won't look too bad with spirit molds (similar color hues/brightness and material feel), but the Majestics will definitely look out of place due to their thickness differences (Majestics are thinner), color brightness, and more plasticized material feel.
 

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If you’re labeling them anyway, why not add another color of spirit molds and get nickel labels? At 10¢/blank, plus labels for 20-30¢/chip, you’ll spend the same amount. Majestics or Pharaoh nickels will look and feel out if place with a spirit mold set.
They only sell two colors of blank spirit molds with two edge spots. Red and Pink. Reds would be my 5s and pinks my quarters. Then they have labeled $1 chips. I only suggested that option because @BGinGA stated that they might pair well together. I'm also trying to push the re-labeling costs down the road a ways. If I could find a third color of blank, I'd be good, but the only other ones they sell in the spirit mold are solid colors, and most seem to agree that these are the poorest quality chips they made and most susceptible to crumbling.
 

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Yeah, I'd go ^that^ route. The Pharaoh's won't look too bad with spirit molds (similar color hues/brightness and material feel), but the Majestics will definitely look out of place due to their thickness differences (Majestics are thinner), color brightness, and more plasticized material feel.
Cool! That's what I needed to know.
 

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My suggestion would be white, red, orange, and pink. The blues seemed to chip more. Just remove the labels. WORTH IT!
Do you think they chip more because they are blue, or because they have just been used more? In a cash game, I suspect the $1 chip is used pretty heavily.

Another user with a big set that I assume was used in tournament play said that his T25 (green) chips chipped the worst.
 

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@Beakertwang I forgot to ask, what part of Iowa are you in? I grew up in Cedar Falls. Proud CF Tiger and UNI Panther grad! My mom and sister still live there and my other sister and some of her family are in the Storm Lake area.
 

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The pinks were used at an equal level and didn't chip nearly as much. Also it seemed liked the blues held more humidity and stuck together while the pinks shuffles smooth and sweet.
Do you think they chip more because they are blue, or because they have just been used more? In a cash game, I suspect the $1 chip is used pretty heavily.

Another user with a big set that I assume was used in tournament play said that his T25 (green) chips chipped the worst.
 

Beakertwang

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@Beakertwang I forgot to ask, what part of Iowa are you in? I grew up in Cedar Falls. Proud CF Tiger and UNI Panther grad! My mom and sister still live there and my other sister and some of her family are in the Storm Lake area.
Grew up in Bellevue, near Dubuque. Lived in WCF for a few years. Attended UNI for three semesters, but did not graduate. I live in Burlington now.
 
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