Playable Sets Vs non-playable sets Pricing (1 Viewer)


Full House
Feb 25, 2014
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I, as many of you do as well, follow eBay closely to look up some of the chips we have and are looking to add to, or chips we covet to own one day. Or even chip sets we have sold in the past.

We are always speculating about what a specific chip costs, the rise of Paulsons with them leaving the home market recently and so on.

One trend that I have noticed while following on eBay is the idea of buying single chips, single barrels, complete racks, playable sets and unplayable sets.

There was a set recently on here of PNYs for $1200, and the set had a rather strange breakdown depending on your game

I guess the question I have, is how much of a premium will the average person pay to not have to accumulate and gather an entire set on their own vs buying racks and barrels at a time , to eventually over time have a fully playable set?

from what I have see on eBay, they will pay a pretty penny.

what are your thoughts?
I would pay a premium for a set that suited my particular game. I would pay a premium (1) to save on shipping costs compared to buying them in small lots, (2) if the set includes denominations that are scarce, (3) to avoid the risk of not being able to complete the set, and (4) for the convenience (mostly time savings) of making one single purchase instead of many. How much of a premium depends on the chips themselves and their general availability.

On the other hand, there is the thrill of the hunt.
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I always wondered this myself. I think many people like to customize (primaries vs secondaries) their chips and break downs when building a set. It gets expensive not buying in bulk as well. And as Abby mentioned there is a thrill in the hunt.
I would say overall, no, I'm not willing to pay a premium for whole sets.

I think it really matters how rare the set is though.

For a super rare or unique set, the value is in keeping it together. People aren't looking for these chips to add on to existing sets.

For common chips like PNY, PCA, Terrible's, Grand Vic, I think there is more value in breaking them up, because people will pay a premium to complete or expand a set they already have. Plus the overall cost of just a rack is much lower, so it's an easier impulse buy.
In general, the price per chip declines as the lot size gets larger. Individual chips sell for higher prices than lots of 5 or 10, barrels are more expensive than racks, and sets are generally cheaper per chip than racks. Part of that is due to the smaller buyer market as the number of chips increases -- more people buy smaller amounts of chips than those who buy sets.
I enjoy the hunt and have made many transaction in the last 6 months. However the allure of a mint, 2 rack + set of every low denoms and enough high to make it handle a full table with color is right now in my wheelhouse. There are maybe a couple sets that fit the description. If they went on the market now all of the truths spoken above would be in question. I'd pay for them. I'm in a unique situation I think. New chipper with too many voids to fill.
Abby summed it up pretty good. But if I had the money I would pay a premium and not care
There are a number of variables that will impact whether or not a chipper pays a premium for a set, me thinks...
  • Rarity of the overall set
  • Rarity of specific pieces in the set
  • Condition of the set
  • Set breakdown
  • Length of time they've been searching
There may be other factors as well. There are two sets that I collect - Empress (anyone selling?) and Stardust Poker Mansion, with the former being a far greater priority than the latter. I've shelled out significant sums of money for Empress chips (some on the cheap, some at a premium), and have purchased larger sets of Stardust chips just to grab some of the chips I need and resell the rest.

I don't think there's really any specific science or generalizations that can be applied to the chipping community or overall chip market when it comes to paying a premium for sets. While buying larger lots tends to yield a smaller per-chip price, all it takes is that one perfect buyer for any given set, y'know?
There is a good example right now in the classifieds. The 3 Absolute Ceramics sets for sale have the breakdown for 820 chips.

120 $25
300 $100
120 $500
200 $100
80 $10,000

This is a great deal at $120. I don't know if he has the price set low because he just wants to get them sold quickly or because the breakdown is not very optimal.
I think there are 2 nearly optimal sets here that would be worth more separately.

Set 1
120 $25
140 $100
50 $500
80 $1000
10 $10K
400 chips

and Set 2 for a T35,000 tournament with starting stacks of 15/7/10/2
160 $100
70 $500
120 $1000
70 $10K
420 chips

Each of these sets has to be worth more than $60. Somebody buy them before I do.
I was the one who paid a "premium" for that eBay PNY set in the original post.
Though I got it for less than $1200 (it was actually listed with a starting price of $1500 at one point).
By itself, the breakdown is good for a T1000 or T2000 tourney... can also be used for low stakes cash by moving the decimal 2 places to the left..
In my case, it was part of building my PNY set.
It really depends on the person and the timing.

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