Chequers Book Reviews
The Professor, Michael Knapp
A Guide to Florida's Gaming Chips, Checks and Tokens, Mark Lighterman, Robert Ginsburg and Myrna Lighterman (First Edition; 1996)146 pages; wire bound; $29.95 ($5 shipping); Mark Lighterman, 9230 S.W. 59th St., Miami, FL 33173
When this book was first released at the 1996 CC>CC convention, it received instant acclaim and interest. The Lightermans and Bob Ginsburg have done an especially good presentation and the extent of their careful research and attention to detail is evident throughout the book.
The Introduction contains a section on definitions and abbreviations, and explains the catalog numbering system which FGCCT uses. As with several other comprehensive catalogs noted in this review section, FGCCT has assigned permanent identification numbers to the chips and tokens listed and illlustrated in the book, so that collectors can refer to the numbers knowing that other collectors will be able to know what chips they're talking about without actually seeing them.
Florida has a rich history of illegal casinos, and FGCCT begins with that story. A listing of illegal clubs and their addresses, a discussion of their owners and operators, along with photographs of the clubs, raids, and a number of chips known to have been used in the clubs makes this section of the book a must-read for anyone interested in the history of gambling in this country.
Presently there are two types of gaming available in Florida: day cruises and Indian casinos (presently offering only bingo and poker). Each day cruise ship and Indian casino has its own section, containing a history of the site, a photograph of the venue, and full-size color photographs of the chips and tokens used, with their identification numbers and written descriptions. The color illustrations are sharp, detailed electronically scanned pictures, and the reproduction is excellent. They add significantly to the value of the book.
The last three pages of the book contain a separate checklist of Florida chips and tokens, and can easily be used to inventory one's collection and to take to shows so that the entire book need not be carried.
A valuable addition to the literature of casino chip and token collecting, FGCCT is an absolute requirement for any collector interested either in Florida as a separate venue, in cruise ship casinos as a category, or in Indian casinos as a separate category of chip collecting.
Given the speed with which day cruise ships come and go, I only hope that the Lightermans and Ginsburg have the energy to update their book often!