Chequers Book Reviews
The Professor, Michael Knapp

Colorado Casino Chip Exchange: Price Guide for Colorado Casino Chips, 3d Edn., Allen Banick (1999)

37 pages, plastic comb bound, $10.00 (postage $2),
Allen Banick, P. O. Box 260575, Highlands Ranch, CO 80163

Back in October of 1991, the first low stakes casinos opened, designed to promote tourism and revive three of Colorado's historic mining towns: Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek. Almost immediately, many chip collectors began to collect the chips of those three towns, and most still do. Some of those original chips, only a little more than seven years old now, are scarce already, and are much sought-after by collectors of Colorado material, who have been in need of a reliable price guide to Colorado chips for some time.

Allen Banick, a dealer in Colorado casino chips and tokens, has produced this latest and most complete price guide to Colorado chips. The first guide, published by Clyde Massaro in 1995 and updated in 1996, has been long out of print and unavailable. Banick's guide fills this gap in the hobby's literature.

The third edition of the CCEX guide is greatly improved over the first and second. Taking into consideration the comments in our previous review, and from other collectors, Banick has now included descriptions of each chip, so that collectors not completely familiar with Colorado casinos don't have to rely on the "house chip" designation of the first edition. Now it's possible even for collectors who can't get to the Colorado casinos to use the CCEX guide.

Interestingly, the CCEX numbers used in this guide are independent of the numbering system started by Massaro in his guides. Each number, we are told, is assigned only once to a chip, and will remain that chip's number for as long as the guide is published. In the style of "The Chip Rack," Allen has started each casino's listing with a banner giving its location (there are three Colorado towns which have casinos) and opening and closing dates, a very helpful detail. Because the locations are included in the banners, he's been able to list all Colorado casinos alphabetically, rather than by geographical groupings, making it much easier to look up a chip without knowing which town it was used in.

Banick has intentionally limited the scope of his book: no photographs of chips appear because, as he says in his introduction, "Pictures make a price guide too big and too expensive." Certainly he's managed to keep the price of his guide down to an easily affordable $10 by not including color scans or photocopies of chips, and the guide is easy to carry: a compact 37 pages, in which every known Colorado chip is listed. Unlike the Massaro books, no tokens are included in the CCEX book. Banick comments in the Introduction that "I personally do not collect tokens and I do not sell enough of them to determine a fair resale value."

As other price guides do, the CCEX book provides a range within which the value of each chip may fall at market value. Rather than relying on value codes, however, the CCEX guide states the values specifically. For many of the chips in the book, Banick has added the valuable "Qty. Produced or Known" so that the collector has some idea how rare a chip might be.

A quick review of several casinos' chips reveals a substantial number of chips added since the first edition, and it's clear that pricing has been reviewed and revised as well. The values shown certainly give the collector an excellent measurement of relative value among Colorado chips. Especially for its price, the CCEX guide is a valuable addition to the library of anyone who collects Colorado chips. Allen has published his guide more than once a year during the first two years, and when the fourth edition of the CCEX guide is published, and we'll look forward to reviewing it for you as well!