Chequers Book Reviews
The Professor, Michael Knapp
Aruba: Pollack's Guide to the Chips & Tokens of Aruba, Ralph Pollack (1996)31 pages; plastic comb bound; $24 (includes shipping); Ralph Pollack, P. O. Box 79216, North Dartmouth, MA 02747
Aruba has long been one of the most popular gaming destinations in the Caribbean. Although often considered one of the Caribbean islands, Aruba is actually an anachronism. Located just off the eastern coast of Venezuela (rather than in the chain of islands beginning with Cuba and running through Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, and others, Aruba is actually a possession of Netherlands.
Chips and tokens from Aruba are often included in collections because so many Americans visit the island and its casinos. Aruba was one of the first foreign venues in which American gaming operators set up shop when the Castro revolution made Cuba inaccessible.
Pollack's book is a carefully-researched, detailed look at Aruba, its casinos, and the chips and tokens they have used. A chronology of casinos and their successors is an extremely valuable starting point. As chip collectors know, reliable information about when clubs opened, changed names, and closed, is extremely difficult to come by, and books such as this add significantly to the collector's understanding of the little colorful round plastic discs we collect.
A complete (or as complete as Ralph could possibly make it) listing of Aruban chips and tokens with a permanent catalog numbering system precedes an eleven-page full-color section showing most known Aruban chips in full size. Denominations up to $25, as well as many $100's, are shown, as are many "credit" chips, which are issued to those players who write markers in a number of Caribbean casinos. The color section alone is well worth the low price of Pollack's book!
Following the color section is a checklist of the chips and tokens, along with a price guide which is the only guide devoted to Aruba, or any Caribbean jurisdiction in fact.
For the collector of Caribbean chips or tokens, and especially those of Aruba, Pollack's book is a welcome addition to collecting literature.