Redbelly's "Crown Jewels"!

Redbelly

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I would like to share an interesting journey…

Of course it started in the year prior to becoming “Redbelly” on the Chiptalk forum. That was a year spent watching all the wonderful chip sets that came into creation during that period (and of course all the pr0n of past chip sets that I was able to view!)…

Most of you know that I met Michael D. by chance, sitting next to him at a Tournament at the Hardrock in late 2011 and shared my vision for a custom chip set. That chance encounter started an AMAZING chain reaction of events! Michael gave me some sample chips that night and in turn I contacted Sallie, became a Chiptalk member in December 2011, ordered samples!, contacted Ttttubby in March of 2012 and had my ASM custom chip set April of 2012! WOW!

To understand this story you have to know how much I love ASM. At least what ASM was… In today’s age of “Made in China” and computer made plastic everything, ASM stood out as an oddity in today’s America. The degree of craftsmanship, artistry, and customization was amazing to me! The amount of individual input to the way these chips are produced is not something found much anymore. I have always enjoyed playing poker but wrap that passion up with truly custom chips and you have heaven!

When I did finally receive my Redbelly Sets I was beyond satisfied! The assistance I received from Ttttubby and everyone on Chiptalk was such a great experience! It was not long after that that I knew I needed to add on! But I had things to do, tables to build, trophies to construct, etc… For the sake of my marriage it was necessary to wait to add on!

And then it happened… the mind-numbing fall of ASM into absolute ruin… and any chance to add on to my Redbelly Set or dreams of making new sets evaporated!
The Chip Talk Thread was titled, “ASM – End of the Quality Clay Chips Era?” 7-04-2013. Most alarming was post #583 by a highly respected Chiptalk member, Courage… and the news never got any better. I was convinced after a couple of months of reading the stomach turning comments that ASM was not going to survive… how could it? There were rumors that ASM was just interested in the Casino market, that they were actively pursuing GPI, etc. I tried to stay out of the fray and with the exception of a couple of posts, I just watched, with numbness, the continued slide of ASM Las Vegas.

In early October 2013 I had finally had enough of rumors and seeing the carnage on the Forum so I contacted Michael D. I think we talked for over 3 hours concerning ASM and what was happening. To be frank, NOTHING was good news! It was confirmed that ASM was not going to survive and that either a small group of investors, possibly including Jim B. (no names of the investors was given), were going to purchase a small amount of ASM assets and about 4 select molds (it was thought that the CSQ mold would not be one of the 4 molds.) OR GPI was going to get everything at a fire sale price!

During that discussion with Michael, all I could think of was the scene in the movie, “Indiana Jones and the Arc of the Covenant!”. The one at the end of the movie where the Arc is crated and wheeled into the massive warehouse to be lost forever… That is literally what I thought would happen if GPI bought ASM’s molds. Michael described the chances of selling ASM’s assets to the Jim B. Investor Group as a long shot specifically because of ASM’s “customer service” that was being presently exhibited during the negotiations of the sale.

And so it was, with all the information I possessed, that I asked Michael if he thought that I might be able to purchase the CSQ mold. (This would include the Mold itself and 36 additional cups). Michael thought that there was a very good chance that I could secure those items. ASM was desperate to make some money. If there existed a chance to “rescue” the CSQ mold (my “Redbelly’s” mold) I was going to do it! Optimistically I believed that I could then offer anyone eventually buying the assets of ASM the use of the CSQ mold similar to the way that the E&C mold had been loaned out… and worst case senario was that I had secured a piece of poker chip history for my personal collection! I mean really? How cool would it be to have an ASM Chip Mold BOLTED to your poker room wall?!!!!

I quickly nailed down a price for the CSQ cups and secured them but was not sure about the price suggested for the complete CSQ mold. I placed a phone call with Jim B. to ask his advice and clarify some rumors. In short, the price for the mold was more than fair. The rumor of investors with Jim B. was fact (but at the time of my phone call he also thought the sale to likely be unsuccessful.) and I was actually asked if I wanted to come aboard as an investor! I wish I had that kind of disposable income (college for two coming up fast)! Lastly I was told that “No”, the CSQ mold was not going to be among the molds selected in the purchase of ASM’s assets.

And so it happened that I came to an agreement to purchase the CSQ cups (36 if I remember). However, due to the inability for me to access funds immediately, a period of time passed that resulted in the successful sale of ASM to CPC (the investors still not known to me) was finally made. I had failed to secure the CSQ mold.

When the CSQ cups were sent to me I was somewhat disappointed to find out that they were all “unfinished” mold cups… not the “finished” cups that you have seen placed in the actual mold shoe. I was still thrilled with what I had received however! In early December I told ASM that should they have anything NOT being sold to the purchasers of ASM that I would like to negotiate a price to buy anything that might still be available. Turns out there was… at least I was “told” there was! To me, and every other Chip nut out there, it was the Holy Grail! I was offered the chance to purchase an estimated 15-18 HOBS and an estimated 25-30 cups of various molds! Absolutely! A price was negotiated and a discussion of when I might be able to acquire the items.
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Some time went by before I was able to arrange a time to pick up the items and it was during this time that I began to feel more and more uneasy about this particular transaction… It was now becoming known exactly who the investors were that bought ASM and what their visions were. It was the best possible news to everyone with a passion for poker chips and a dream to build a custom clay chip set! The very passion that these investors were said to have in all things poker chips was the very thing that made the purchase that I was about to complete feel “wrong”… How was it that these investors did NOT want this history? It made no sense!

I was not given much time to deliberate what course to choose because one week prior to picking up the items I was informed by ASM that there was a “wrinkle” and that I would be contacted in about a month after everything had settled! I correctly read “wrinkle” to be lawyers and started to vacillate between happiness at being relieved to know that the new owners would be receiving the hobs and cups and the disappointment in knowing that I would not… I still took comfort in having the CSQ items though and a part of ASM history.

Exactly a month later I was contacted by ASM and told that all things were cleared up and that although the HOBS were no longer available that there were items still available that “the new owners were not interested in” that I could purchase. Great! Sad at the idea of not being able to purchase the HOBS but thrilled that I was going to be able to purchase some things not wanted!

In late February I agreed to purchase an estimated 110 mold cups (unfinished and finished). I took possession of the items on February 28[SUP]th[/SUP]! OH MY GOD! It was a wonderful collection of some very cool items! I brought the items home and began to clean a few of them up! JEWELLERY or GEMS are the only ways I can personally describe the outcome!
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I took several pictures and started to describe my journey so I could share it all with this community!
…and then I began to get nervous again and started to ask myself again… “Why?” “Why would CPC take some mold cups and not others?” The LAST thing I wanted to do was to post something that would come as a surprise to the new owners at CPC. It was quickly becoming apparent that CPC was the best possible outcome to the custom clay chip market! Literally a savior!

Because of my desire to NOT offend this community and NOT offend the new owners at CPC, I reached out to David Spragg and Company and told him of my journey, what I possessed, and what I wanted to share with the members of Chiptalk now (PCF!).

It really didn’t come as a huge surprise that David got back with me immediately and informed me that, “I can assure you that there was nothing that ASM had that we didn’t want.” David then began, in a series of emails, to share HIS journey in purchasing ASM! It is a tribute to CPC’s dedication to the making of poker chips that they stayed the course… they went through hell! David and I quickly formed a relationship through the many emails between us! I had clearly made the right choice in contacting David and we quickly came to a mutual agreement!

My desire to first get involved with the purchase of the CSQ items was strictly to preserve (rescue), at least a piece of ASM history and perhaps make that mold available later to anyone that was willing and able to make custom clay chips.

After talking with David and CPC and knowing what their vision is for the clay chip market, realizing the deception they had endured, and knowing that my actions would help them, it was not a difficult decision at all to turn over to CPC all the items that I had in my possession. All things that I paid for and received, 141 finished and unfinished cups, made their way back to CPC in late March of this year.

…David did agree, however, to let me keep a selection of some items as a gesture of appreciation and I am honored that he did. Those items are now what I wish to share with this community! I hope you will enjoy! Those that made the “Round up on the Ridge” were able to be the first to hear the story and see the Redbelly “ Crown Jewels”!

P.S. Not for sale.:cool:

Roman Mold – MD 89
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C.A.R.O. Mold – MD 16a
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Horse Head Right (H.H.R.) – MD 65
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SCROLL - MD 93
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American – MD 13
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Dice and Cards (Diecar) – MD 6
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Triangles and Clubs – MD 32
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Jockeys – MD 70
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FLEUR DE' LIS - FDL – MD 100
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“H” (H.C.E.) – MD 19
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Circle in Square (CSQ) – MD 52
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Mr Tree

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Well that's one question answered.

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1415853042.024403.jpg

Amazing story Sean! This story had so much happier an ending than it could have and you have a museum piece in your collection. Well done.
 

courage

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Awesome stuff, Sean! Those are inspiring! And very cool of you to return assets to CPC. You are a class act and deserving chipper.
 
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Amazing story!!! It goes to show what a good turn can get in return. Also, very insightful to see how bad the Red Tide was while it was happening. We all had a pretty good idea that he didn't care and was looking to liquidate and the lack of communication on that part and the fact that you were able to get what you did tells even more.

Love those pics! Nice clean-up job on everything (looks like they are about ready to be used, though I suspect they might be dead cups). On that subject though, the scratch on the H-mold cup looks like a little scratch I seem to remember in some of the chips in my H-mold set. There's a small but non-zero chance they were made with that cup! :)

Thanks for the post! Great story, and thanks for sharing with all of us!!
 

abby99

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What an incredible story! I'm so glad that these ended up in good hands and that you've shared your story and pics with us. I shudder when I think that they might have ended up in a landfill somewhere.
 

jbutler

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Sean, that is absolutely amazing. those really are the crowing jewels of your collection from the perspective of any kind of chip nerd out there.
 

meatboy

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omg...

gorgeous cups :)
thank you so much for sharing this awesome story!
 

Lars

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Beyond cool! My jealousy meter is pegged. I hope to see them in person some day :)
 

meatboy

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The knowledge that both CSQ and FDL cups you have at your home maybe have been used to make some of my chips, is sooo cool :)

That is really a great collection of goodies :)
 

ellased

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a truly fawesome story.
thank you for sharing.
would be interesting to hear the difficulties that cpc had in securing the purchase. we all knew they were bad, but exactly to what level??? bollocks.
 

PAZ

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I don't even know what to say.....wow. What an amazing story. I'm so happy for you, what an incredible addition to your family this makes.
 

sat guru

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This is awe inspiring. Congrats! What is the "HOB" for? Is it the paired other side of the mold? (Cup one side, HOB other?)

I saw in that box that you have an Elephant & Castle cup. How I hope that comes back: The 828c needs an add-on!
 

Mr Tree

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My understanding is the E&C isn't owned by CPC. They used to borrow/rent it occasionally from the owner, but after dealing with Red and ASM Vegas it is very unlikely the E&C will ever be made available to CPC again. I reserve the right to have misunderstood that however.
 

Mr Tree

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I cant decide if the coolest part was how you went in guns a blazing to buy those circle squares when it sounded like the whole operation was going down the crapper, or that you turned around and sent them to CPC when it became clear that good people had saved the whole operation.
 

sat guru

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My understanding is the E&C isn't owned by CPC. They used to borrow/rent it occasionally from the owner, but after dealing with Red and ASM Vegas it is very unlikely the E&C will ever be made available to CPC again. I reserve the right to have misunderstood that however.

Oh, that's right it's owned by Marion and was on loan to ASM. Hope you are wrong about it being available, as that would be a travesty.
 

Poker Zombie

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I sat at my keyboard for at least 5 minutes just trying to think of the right words, for such an incredible tale. Wow, or Awesome just come up short. So I continued to sit and think of just the right words.
.
..
...
There are none.

Wow.
 

Johnny5

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Sean, you are a true gentleman. Thank you for sharing this incredible story with us!
 

MoscowRadio

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What an awesome story, Sean. It never ceases to amaze me how the chip community works and comes to the aid of others in times of need. One day I WILL play with those Redbelly chips and would love to see the molds.
 

RussB42

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Great Story, thanks for sharing...
 
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