In mid-December, 2000 there was an attempt by a coin grading/encapsulating
firm to introduce slabbed casino chips into the chip collecting hobby.
For those who are not familiar with this term, slabbing is a process whereby
a firm who traditionally has provided this "service" in the coin industry,
charges a fee ($10 has been suggested) for a chip collector to submit a single
casino chip to this firm to be evaluated as to condition and an arbitrary
grade is assigned. The chip is then permanently sealed into a plastic case
with a registration number, and the arbitrarily assigned grade is clearly
visible. This now-slabbed chip is returned to the owner usually within two
weeks at the owner's additional expense.
This slabbing company does not guarantee the grade assigned. It is merely
the opinion of the grading company's employee(s) who are examining the chip
at that particular point in time. The slabbing firm has no interest in purchasing
or selling slabbed chips. Their whole purpose of their existence is strictly
financial in that they depend upon huge quantities of chips to be submitted
for evaluations at $10 per opinion. An employee (grader) who originally graded
a particular chip, may not be employed at the firm one month, six months,
or a year later.
It is not unusual in the coin industry for the slab to be physically cracked
open with force, the coin removed, and is re-submitted either to the same
grading company, or another one, in the hopes that it will come back at a
higher grade than it had previously.
Variations of one or two points on certain coins could mean a difference
in price of hundreds or thousands of dollars.
It is for this primary reason (and others) that more than 165 online members
(as of 1/6/01) of the Casino Chips and Gaming Tokens Collectors Club (CC>CC)
do not wish to see this unwarranted development take place in the chip hobby.
Grading of chips is not as critical as grading coins are. In addition, there
is a fear among many hobby veterans that this slabbing practice will result
in overall higher prices of chips that have been slabbed vs. identical chips
that have not been slabbed. These club members have overwhelmingly responded
to an electronic pledge on the CC>CC message board, not to purchase
slabbed chips, or patronize a dealer who is engaged in selling slabbed chips.
While I personally pledge that I will have no part of encouraging the purchasing,
trading and/or selling of slabbed chips, every individual is free to make
up their own minds as to what they feel is in their own best interests. I
also personally support a proposed club policy that would prohibit the sale
of slabbed chips during the club's annual convention and auction and/or accept
ads from slabbing firms in the Club Magazine.