Jim was a good chipping friend. Never met him in person but we had a lot of email conversations through the years. He was generous with his knowledge and never failed to answer my myriad of questions. Man knew most everything about making poker chips and had seen it all. It's a sad day indeed, we lost a one of a kind.
Very sorry for your loss – all of ours, come to think of it – David.
Great quote from the old CT interview that's probably more pertinent than ever:
"What I do see is a tendency for people to think that what's being imported now from China is, while it's a great value today price wise, it's, in my estimation, history will judge it to be not of any significance. Today there is great value placed on early chips produced by real craftsman."
"There hasn't been anything that has any long-lasting value coming out of china since the Ming dynasty. (laughs) They're great at copying the innovations of what other people have done. The reality is that the value of a mass produced, send it to the US by the container load chip, in 20-50 years from now, everyone will have them. But few will say, by God I was lucky to get a set of chips from TR King while they were still in business. Now, there was a craftsman!"
"The chips we produced for the early casinos in the 1950, 60's are the most valuable chips to collectors that were ever produced, or ever will be produces. The stuff that was made by our company, if you had some of those early chips...you could trade one of those chips for a brand new corvette. That's the value and the collectability of those early chips. You will never, ever, ever see that on a Chinese set of chips. People will look back, even chips produced 10 years ago, by companies no longer in business like TR King, they will say, Man I was lucky to get a set of chips from that company, because there is so much quality, and there is so much pride in that manufacturing that went into those chips, that's not in these Chinese chips."
"Sometimes I get frustrated, and I try not to comment on it, because I don't want to be like sour grapes, when I hear guys talk about these Chinese chips, like the Chinese invented poker, and like these are ultimate chips. When the first Chinese chips came in and there was a big washer molded, they were molded around a big washer so they were heavy and 11.5 grams they were advertising them as clay chips, it was only after someone told them, "Hey these are not real clay" just because someone says they're clay doesn't mean they're clay."
"It's frustrating when you see a Chinese copy of one of our solid wooden cases, advertised as mahogany, when it's not mahogany and in reality it's not a solid piece of wood, and it's a piece of junk, compared to what we manufacture which is solid wood, American made, using the finest hardware. Sometimes I want to scream when I see somebody say, I just saw a nice case on eBay for 9.99 compared to a case I sell for 100. I wonder if people understand there is a difference. There is such a thing as pride of manufacturing. I don't think that level of quality is coming out of china."
"I think people assume that if it's half the price, it might be the same quality. It's like when the Yugo came out. It was a hell of a good price, but after a few years people realized they were a piece of crap. However, if you bought a 1960 corvette for $6000 you could probably get $50K for it today. Which one was the better investment? The Yugo, or something with better quality? The reality, people will be better over time with the more quality item. There is a difference with these imports and a real quality item."
I’m so saddened to hear this. Got to meet him twice; once at Guinness’s meet up and once at his “retirement” party in Maine. He was an amazing person, and the chipping world will surely miss his input, creativity, and inspiration.
Gut punch to read. He's on the Mount Rushmore of this hobby for sure. Haven't had the pleasure of meeting him while he was with us, but I hope he saves me a seat for when I get there. He'll have a seat at my eternal game anytime.
Just horrible news. I was glad to have known Jim B—one of the highlights of my attendance at the chipping convention was spending almost an hour chatting with Jim. He was an absolute encyclopedia of chip knowledge and stories, and like Mike Spinetti, we wont see his like again.
This is absolutely gutting news. Without Jim and his steady hand at the helm of ASM as chipping and custom chips started to get going, and I have a hard time believing we'd have a lot of what we see here. I had the pleasure of talking with him on the phone a couple times and appreciate his advice during the fine-tuning process of my California Club tribute set. That advice and knowledge, and willingness to share that advice, helped make that set the highlight of all of my custom sets.
Condolences to his family and friends, and especially you David. We have all lost a great person and great resource to this hobby.
I never had the honor of conversation with Jim, but it sounds like he was very successful at helping the community in ways that I'm sure I benefit from. It also seems like he was not only a skilled craftsman but also was able to impart his legacy on an entire hobby and will live on in the custom chip for the last 30+ years. Truely someone to celebrate!
Jim was a true chipper and staple in the community. He spent countless hours emailing back and forth with me on designs, ideas, thoughts, generally chipping questions, and never seemed like it was a hassle or bother over the last 20 years. He knowledge, enthusiasm, and passion for chipping was evident. I loved talking with him when I got the chance. RIP Jim.
The GOAT of poker chips. I never met the man, but he is an absolute legend in this realm of chip collecting. The interview he gave on CT was so inspirational and educational, the man had a passion for his business and he will be sorely missed. God bless Jim B!