New Key West blue $1 chips are coming for a buck (1 Viewer)


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Mar 26, 2013
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Wilmington, DE




With inimitably perfect timing this afternoon, David Spragg sent me the Classic Poker Chips mockup of our new Key West $1 chip, above. The chip will be imperial blue with yellow spots, and will be added to the Key West line along with our white $1 chips. They're expected to arrive around June 2, 2014.

These chips will cost $1 each, and will be redeemable for $1 at any time from our company.

The simple plan:

1. You give us $1.
2. We give you a Key West blue, second-issue $1 chip.
3. We keep your dollar in the bank for as long as the chip is out there.
4. If you ever return the chip, we give you your dollar back.
5. For more chips, repeat numbers 1 through 5.
6. You can keep, sell or trade your chips. You can "trade" your chips to the guy at the poker table with the pocket aces, so long as it's legal in your state.

"Are you crazy?" you ask.

No. At least I don't think so. Well, maybe. Read on and decide for yourself.

How this can happen:

Each Key West $1 face value chips is really a novel form of gift card that's returnable for cash, with the value ($1) stored on it as long as they are out of my office. They're not inventory to be permanently sold, but advertising for the Key West brand and a way to store one dollar.

I was stymied trying to create a face-value $1 chip that could be made and sold for $1. The cost to make these chips -- about $1.58 nowadays -- was really impossible to get around when you consider you're getting $1 back for the chip. But then I thought about doing gift cards.

Retail stores spend a ton of money to make gift cards, and then store cash on them, which people give as gifts. I considered doing some custom gift cards for the Key West. There were questions -- expensive card reading equipment, and when do you record the sale? I asked an accountant friend, and we got to talking about what I wanted to do with gift cards.

When I learned what it costs to make custom gift cards, I realized it was about the same as the cost of a chip. Problem solved.

We'll store your dollars in a high-interest savings account, and the interest will be revenue for our company, offsetting the cost of the chips. I believe we'll recoup the cost of making the chips in about two years.

Quantities limited

We won't be knocking out 10,000 of these chips -- at least not yet. The initial order is for 1,300 chips, 880 of which are on the "to buy" list of about five members of another site. They'll have first shot at those 880, then I will know how many will be available upon arrival in about 60 days. But don't worry. I'm sure we'll be making some more in a few months.

No fees

I considered charging a "user fee" of 10, 15 or even 25 cents per chip, just to prevent people from using chips for a day and returning them. A small fee wouldn't stop this, and a big one would put people off. And if we charge a fee, we're really not giving you the chip for face value. So no fee.

Rules for buying:

Payment: We prefer checks or money orders for face value chips. If you must use paypal, you must pay the paypal fee. No chips will ship unless we receive $1 for each chip you order, and the full cost of shipping to your destination, after the fees are pulled out.

When you can order: When the chips arrive from Classic Poker Chips, I will post a new thread here with the actual number available for sale. A special e-mail address will be set up to receive orders that will end in "," so no PMs here. If you miss out entirely and want some live $1 chips, we'll start a list and place another order with David and Jim B.

Shipping: All face value chips will ship via Priority Mail boxes, insured for face value. We've already calculated the exact cost for any size from one chip to 240 chips for this. Shipping is at the buyer's expense.

Single chips: Single chips are a challenge, as single-chip collectors are not likely to return the chip. If that's a $5 chip, I'd be fine with it, but these chips cost more to make than their face. I'm open for discussion on this, and no decision has been made.

Rules for redeeming chips:

No one has to redeem the chips. You can keep them forever.

We have a redemption page already set up on our Key West site. (It's hidden, and will launch when chips go out.) If or when you'd like to return the chips, meet me at an event, give them to someone we both trust to deliver, or ship them back to me at your expense.

Destroyed chips not redeemable: If the chip you return is so worn or damaged that we can't reissue it, we'll need to buy another one and can't return your dollar for that chip.

Getting you paid: I will issue a check for the whole amount, $1 per chip returned. If you want to use paypal to get paid, the fees must come from your amount.

Any hard feelings if I return chips? No. They cost more to make than you paid, and someone will probably be waiting for them.

What this does for Key West Chips

First and foremost, it means the blue $1 Key West chips you buy will always be worth the $1 that backs it. It it won't fall in value, like we've seen with some other used chips. And if you're thinking of buying a set of Key West chips, buying a rack of $1 chips for $1 each will reduce the overall cost of your set of 300 or 500 chips.

For us, the chips are advertising, and they're certain to cause a few other chips to be sold at retail. And we have other plans, too.

Redeemed $1 chips can be reissued to their next owner, and we'll have a page set up to do that. When we run short of first issue white $1 chips, we might offer to buy some from Key West owners at face value or trade them for blue $1 chips, or reissue them as $1 coupons for items on our site.

As far as I know, this hasn't been tried before, perhaps for good reason. We'll see what happens. Please let me know what you think

Last edited:
<sigh> I was hoping to delay the purchase of a Key West cash set a bit longer, but those plans may have to change. The new chip is going to look great!

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