Chequers Book Reviews
The Professor, Michael Knapp

A Collector's Guide to Nevada Gaming Checks & Chips, Howard and Kregg Herz (1995)

288 pages, perfect bound, Western Publishing Company, Inc.; $29.95 plus $3.05 postage; Gaming Archaeology, P. O. Box 1000, Minden, NV 89423 (also carried by dealers)

Anyone who has been involved with the chip collecting hobby for any length of time certainly knows Howard and Kregg Herz. Howard Herz has been involved in collecting and also in gathering, researching and preserving historical resource material vital to the gaming memorabilia collector since the early 1960's. He published one of the first books available to collectors of gaming checks and chips, and Gaming Archaeology, comprised of Howard and Kregg, regularly conducts mail/phone auctions of chips, tokens and other gaming memorabilia.

The Herzes are clearly among the top authorities on gaming collectibles, and this book--which belongs in ever collector's library--is proof of that fact.

Especially valuable to the new collector, but containing information of value even to long-term collectors, the Introduction describes the history of gaming chip production and materials, defines commonly-used (and not so common) descriptive terms, catalogs and illustrates mold designs used by chip manufacturers, offers a grading scale, describes colors, and proposes definitions for various types of gaming and gaming-related chips.

The main body of the book consists of a catalog of Nevada gaming chips. The 1996 appearance of the Herz book marked the first time collectors had the advantage of actual photographs of thousands of Nevada gaming chips in one place. Below each photograph is a description of other chips known to the authors in 1995, in the same style, rim design, and center design, but in different denominations.

The photographs are especially valuable in distinguishing chips from casinos with the same or similar names, in different Nevada towns. Where known at the time the book was published, dates of operation were included as well.

In addition to descriptions of the chips, the Herz book includes a price guide to Nevada chips. Unfortunately, because the book is now about four years old, the price guide is the weakest and least useful part of the book. As with all price guides, however, the numbers are an excellent guide to the relative values of chips at the time the book was published.