Some tips for new collectors from the perspective of a modest chipper (1 Viewer)

catalyzeme

3 of a Kind
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I just wanted to share some advice for newer chippers around here, from someone who's been collecting for a while (but not nearly as long as some) and who has a reasonable (but not that impressive) collection. Some tips from someone solidly in the middle, that I think will apply to most people interested in starting out, whose ultimate ceiling is probably like mine and most in this forum: somewhere in the middle.

1. The photos you might see around the site with many large casino sets covering a poker table are generally some of the biggest collections around and took years of collecting to build. You probably won't and definitely don't need to ever get to this point. For every collector with tens of thousands of chips (or tens of thousands of dollars worth of chips), there are ten more like me with a modest collection. There's nothing wrong with never getting to the top echelon.

2. It will seem like everyone has those huge collections. At the end of the day, it's a bell curve, and the people with the collections on the high end of the bell curve are going to also be a lot of the most prolific posters. They are over represented on the forum, and that's OK. They are the top of the hobby but they aren't the bulk of it, and you can carve out your niche in the hobby and community without reaching 5,000 posts and 20,000 chips.

3. You can't participate in every sale, eBay auction, and classified ad that appeals to you. For almost anyone, the cost is just too high. Pick and choose your spots and try to have an idea of what your next purchase might be. Be happy that someone else will get to add to their collection, and be happy you still have dollars in the bank.

4. You will miss out. People will beat you to the classified you had been waiting for, chips will sell out before you have a chance to get them, and many other circumstances will keep you from getting the purchase you want even if you are ready to pull the trigger. It's chipping, and more importantly, it's life. The next opportunity is right around the corner.

5. Many individual casino sets take years to complete, even for the less serious chippers. For me personally, my Terrible's set took several years to get to the point where I'm not really looking to add to it. During that time I even gave up looking for certain chips, but the opportunities eventually came back around. Be diligent and be patient, and learn to love your incomplete sets. The journey to complete them is part of the experience.

6. Get samples, within reason. Generally if lots of sample sets are available for chips you are looking at, you may be looking at a cheaper (<$0.50/chip) type set. Don't spend $80 on samples out of your $200 budget. Read opinions on the forum, check out hobbyphilic's YouTube channel, and narrow down as much as possible. Then get samples. Unless you also want to collect samples, in which case go wild.

7. Understand your budget. You may need a strict yearly budget, you may need separate poker chip money, or you may just be willing to spend pretty indiscriminately. But you need to at least understand your own financial situation and be realistic with yourself if you are considering really diving into chipping. Don't mortgage your future; if buying more chips is going to mean you can't make that next car repair or save for retirement, consider holding off for now and saving up some chipping money. Like I said before, you will miss out, and that's OK.

8. Sometimes things come up and you have to sell.
You might need the money or you might just need the space. There's no tips or tricks here, it's just something that happens and a reality of tying up money in any collectible.

9. If you want to maximize your dollars and minimize the time to sell, consider who would be interested in your chips. Odd breakdown of a pretty common chip? There are probably people looking for single racks to round out their sets and willing to pay a premium. Huge casino-used set? Single racks might also be the best way to go as many of the people with big budgets are looking for mint. A smaller set of casino-used chips, or any sized mint set with a good breakdown? These sell well as whole sets.

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to share any more tips :)

From @upNdown:
Be active in the community and develop relationships. Just like anything else, you'll only get out of it what you put into it. Reading a lot, posting a lot, getting to know people, playing with them in real life - that's how you develop relationships. Maybe you have some fun, maybe you help somebody out, and maybe they help you out. You'll only find so many chips by responding to classifieds, posting WTB's, and scouring eBay - there's a TON more of chips out there that you'll NEVER find on your own, but your network of friends might come across them.
 
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Nice write up, but you forgot one thing....

Raffle.
 
Be active in the community and develop relationships. Just like anything else, you'll only get out of it what you put into it. Reading a lot, posting a lot, getting to know people, playing with them in real life - that's how you develop relationships. Maybe you have some fun, maybe you help somebody out, and maybe they help you out. You'll only find so many chips by responding to classifieds, posting WTB's, and scouring eBay - there's a TON more of chips out there that you'll NEVER find on your own, but your network of friends might come across them.
 
Great advice!

I know unless I hit the lotto I'll never be more than a small fish in a big pond but I do love the look of some of the sets people have posted here!
 
Thanks for the kind words, all. :) I think there are probably a million more tips that could be written (china clay info, custom poker chip info, where to buy, how to store, how to clean, breakdowns, etc.) but there are already some great guides and threads on those topics around the site. These are the things I wish I knew in my first 6 months or so. I was about 23 years old when I started chipping around 2012 and on a grad student budget. I think I made a lot of mistakes in my approach and these are the things I've learned that have really changed the way I view the hobby. I wish I had this knowledge when I started, so hopefully it can help some of the new folks here!
 
I feel like this post was exactly what I was looking for! I appreciate the write up being a newbie to the forum. Looks like a great community (I’m on forums for other costly hobbies ), and that’s not always the norm.
Although I don’t have many yet I think I will go ahead and plead @johnjohn rule 10 is probably going to be a yes.
 
I still struggle with #2 - the thing about the huge sets. My main cash set has more chips than I’ll ever need, but when I see those giant sets, I feel inferior. Why? I dunno. Dumb? Most certainly. But chip envy is a real thing.
 
I still struggle with #2 - the thing about the huge sets. My main cash set has more chips than I’ll ever need, but when I see those giant sets, I feel inferior. Why? I dunno. Dumb? Most certainly. But chip envy is a real thing.

Oh trust me I get the chip envy. I just bought a 600 chip set of .16/chip. I see some of the pics of chips that cost a dollar or more per chip and I can’t help but drool!
 
Great post!

How about:

Find a focus - There are just so many pretty chippies out there - unless your chip funds are unlimited, you can't collect them all. If you can focus in on the type of chips that you love (at least for now) it will help you be able to pass on the rest of them. Maybe your thing is Minty RHC's, Old School Cali chips, Vegas casinos, TRK's, Purple chips, Hundos, Starbursts, whatever. Of course your focus will change over time as you complete sets and your attention span wanders but at least you'll be able to browse through the classifieds and eBay without buying all the chips.
 
4. You will miss out. People will beat you to the classified you had been waiting for, chips will sell out before you have a chance to get them, and many other circumstances will keep you from getting the purchase you want even if you are ready to pull the trigger. It's chipping, and more importantly, it's life. The next opportunity is right around the corner.

Always rough stiking out. But that just makes hitting a home run that much sweeter.
 
Great post!

How about:

Find a focus - There are just so many pretty chippies out there - unless your chip funds are unlimited, you can't collect them all. If you can focus in on the type of chips that you love (at least for now) it will help you be able to pass on the rest of them. Maybe your thing is Minty RHC's, Old School Cali chips, Vegas casinos, TRK's, Purple chips, Hundos, Starbursts, whatever. Of course your focus will change over time as you complete sets and your attention span wanders but at least you'll be able to browse through the classifieds and eBay without buying all the chips.
This should definitely be added. My first big set was over 1,100 Grand Victoria primaries which I used for a while. I ended up selling them afterI caught the Las Vegas Chip bug. I lookout many chips that I like but my money primarily goes to Nevada chips. My firs set was a 400 piece Tropicana 2nd edition set which is now over 1,000 chips. Most of my other Vegas chips are smaller sets or racks which all get in play as mixed sets. So yes my money goes to Nevada chips. I do have others but Nevada is whereI specialize. My other rule other than Nevada chips is they need to be THC mold or house mold. I do not own any RHC chips anymore. Narrowing my choices makes it easier to say no on some of the chips that I see come up for sale.
 
Here are some additional SEKRET TOTALLY SIRIUS rules, inspired by some other disciplines:

1. How many chip sets do you need? You need to have N + 1 sets, where N is the number of sets you curently have.
2. Beware of those who would call you out on CAS (chip acquisition syndrome).
3. Practice, practice, practice! You need to practice chipping at least 2 to 3 times a week to improve. If you just chip once a week you are barely maintaining.
4. The best chip set is the one you used in your last home game.
5. Even the guys with the massive dragon gold scrooge mcduck chip hoards had to start with their first set, so don't be discouraged if you are just starting out.
6. {Paraphrasing Monty Python} [Australian accent] No dice chips!
7. Get samples!

:) :)
 

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