Chequers Book Reviews
The Professor, Michael Knapp
Casino Tokens of Monte Carlo, Thomas C. Day (1986)30 pages; staple bound; $3; American Numismatic Association, 818 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80903-3279 (also available from dealers)
To the numismatist (coin collector), any coin-like piece which was not issued by a governmental authority for legal tender is a "token." What we call casino chips and tokens, therefore, are lumped together under the designation "token" by coin collectors.
This booklet, which consists of reprints of two articles by Thomas Day which originally appeared in The Numismatist, the monthly magazine of the American Numismatic Association, contains both chips and tokens and remains the single most definitive work on the chips and tokens of what may be the world's most famous and romantic gaming venue of all: Monte Carlo, Monaco.
First attempted in 1856, casino gaming in Monte Carlo did not really get off the ground until François Blanc (Frank White) took over the concession in 1862. This history, and more, is contained in the Day booklet, along with phtotographs of Monte Carlo before and after the main casino was built.
Chips and tokens are photographed in detail (although illustrations are in black and white rather than in color) and numbered descriptions of each chip and token are also provided. Day catalog numbers have become the standard method of referring to Monte Carlo gaming pieces.
For the republication of the two articles, Day added descriptions and photographs of a number of chips and tokens he was unaware of at the time of original publication of the articles, and these addenda appear that the back of the booklet.
Especially considering the low price, the Day booklet belongs in every Monaco chip or token collector's library.