Clay poker chips from 1920s

Colorized State quarter error?
Published : 12/20/10
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Attached is a picture of nine old clay discs, the type that might have been used as counters in a poker game. They are blank except for the writing on one of the sides of each one. They are dated either 1928 or 1929. I bought them in Texas, but there is also a Chicago related disc.

I was wondering if you knew anything about these or knew someone who might know. I don’t know if they are authentic. If one could find old discs like these, one could write anything on them that he wanted. But they are written in pencil, and I am pretty sure that these are an old style of disc.

I asked a few people who knew something about poker chips, and the only thing that they could do was to verify that the clay chips were in use in the late 1920s. No one had ever seen anything like these. Any help would be appreciated.

George Schaetzle

Address withheld

In last week’s “Readers Ask,” a reader asked about Kennedy half dollars with edges smoothed by continual usage in slot machines. We seem to continue our gambling-related theme with this week’s column.

Mr. Schaetzle is correct in noting that the pieces in question are probably clay chips used as counters or money substitutes for poker or other card games, and appear to date back to 1928 and 1929.

Though these chips are old and the writing on the pieces gives them a historical curiosity, most traditional coin collectors will attach little numismatic value to them. More interest would likely come from collectors of casino chips and game counters.

For more information on pieces like this or other gambling exonumia, readers may find it beneficial to contact the Casino Chip and Gaming Token Collectors Club Inc. at

I have a colorized 1999 Connecticut State quarter dollar and the colors are not in register. Are you interested in it?

Rich Bruno

Address withheld

Colorized State quarter dollars having their coloring not placed correctly (or “not in register”), either by application of a decal or painting by hand, is a rather common occurrence. Quality control was not always a paramount concern of many of the companies that produced and marketed these.

Because the “error” with the application of the color occurred after its striking by the U.S. Mint, it would not be considered by hobbyists to be an error coin in the normal sense. As such, it possesses little to no premium.

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