Since its publication, I have spent the greatest percentage of my unallocated "free time" reading "The Official U.S. Casino Chip Price Guide" by James Campiglia and Steve Wells. In my humble opinion it is the finest book of its kind on the market. No chip collector regardless of what might be collected should be without this excellent publication!
I must tell you honestly it took my breath away. The improvements made since the first and second editions have put it in a class by itself. I seriously doubt any future competing publication can come even close in providing the reader with pertinent material that reflects our hobby at this moment in time. It is so well done that my criticisms must be left to the few obvious pricing errors that were not recognized and corrected in the proof reading stage. What a book! I canít put it down.
First of all the grading standard implemented in the past editions is gone; and I say good riddance. The authors have incorporated "The Casino Chip and Gaming Token Collectors Club, Inc." five level grading standard as the criteria for condition. Only the top three grades are utilized in the publication but nothing is lost by the elimination of the two bottom grades.
The first 26 pages of the book by themselves are worth the selling price of $29.95. Valuable information is provided in the "Chip Collecting 101" section that will be useful to new collectors as well as those collectors who have been around awhile. The color pictures of chips are breathtaking. Believe me when I say you could be in our hobby two lifetimes and you will never see the actual chip of some of those featured in this book. It is obvious the authors convinced a few of the "deep pocket" collectors in our hobby to let them take pictures of the rarest and one of kind pieces that would never be available for viewing by the general public without publication of this book.
The prices for some chips displayed and described, at first glance appeared to me to be a little low. I wondered whether the authors relied heavily upon auction sales to reflect market for those pieces. It isnít many pieces but enough to peak my interest in that area. Upon further evaluation I realized it was me and not the pieces. I was reacting to a market where all pieces increased but not at the rate or percentage attributed to "rare" or unique chips. When I thought about it I recognized that rare chips would obviously increase in value greater than more common chips.
The State of Nevada is the primary focal point with an added bonus of chips from Colorado, South Dakota, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Illinois, Missouri and New Jersey. The book is approximately 400 pages. The cost to you the reader is a little over 7 cents a page. Just think, for a little over 7 cents a page you will have pictures of chips you would most likely never ever see. That to me is a bargain at any price.
I purchased my copy of this excellent publication from my longtime friend and chip dealer Andy Hughes. I purchase all the books I read and use since that way I donít feel my objectivity can or would be questioned when I write about them.
In addition to the beautiful pictures of chips throughout the book there are reproductions of actual postcards depicting casinos long gone. As though that were enough plenty of pithy comments are made by the authors providing history and information relevant to the casino chip being displayed. This book is just chuck full of pictures, comments, history and the effort of two individuals that should not go unnoticed. Campiglia and Wells have created a work of art. A piece of history combined with contemporary happenings. This contribution to our hobby should not go unnoticed and if I have anything to say about it Ė it will not!
When the first and second publications were released I objected to the word "Official" being in the title. Today, I believe this book deserves that title. They earned it!