"Mr. Chips"


My  Awards

I am a retired employee of New Jersey Bell Telephone Co./Bell Atlantic, with 38 years service at the time of my retirement as a Systems Technician in 1996. I am a 35+ year member of  the American Numismatic Association, with a strong background in coins, tokens and medals  collecting… having held office in several local, state, and national numismatic organizations. My loving and very  supportive wife, Brenda, has put up with my collecting habits since the day we got married in 1958;  over 60 years ago.

One of the most common questions asked of me is how I got started collecting casino chips. Over 50 years ago I collected tokens and medals from my home state of New Jersey… all kinds of tokens and medals.  Aluminum, brass, silver, copper, wooden nickels, plastic… anything that had NJ printed on it… from town celebrations, to Centennials and Bi-Centennials. From parking tokens to toll tokens to arcade tokens and drink tokens and advertising tokens, personalized tokens, including political items … all were fair game… and much sought after. When legalizing casinos in New Jersey was first being promoted in 1974, lots of items were being produced to persuade voters to “Vote Yes” in the ’74 NJ state referendum. When that effort failed, it was resurrected again in 1976, but this time the language of the proposal limited casinos to Atlantic City only… which passed handily at the polls.

When the first casino, Resorts International, opened on May 26, 1978 a whole new collecting aspect to my New Jersey collection opened up … and as they say, “the rest became history”. Today, the coin collections are gone, the NJ tokens and medals are gone, and the only collecting interests I have remaining are casino chips and casino hotel room keys exclusively.

In 1986-1987, a few chip-collecting friends from around the country were  corresponding back and forth with each other, which promptly grew to a couple dozen “pen pals”. Instead of writing individually to each one of them, I began publishing an informal “newsletter” on my Magnavox word processor to send to all of them at the same time.  These early newsletters eventually became what is known today as the CC&GTCC quarterly magazine, “Chip & Token News”.

A suggestion was made that I organize a chip and token collectors club since I had prior experience holding office in several hobby clubs … being the current President of Ocean County Coin Club, New Jersey’s largest and most active coin club, and I was also serving as one of only two A.N.A. District Representatives for the state of New Jersey and President of the Garden State Numismatic Association, an umbrella organization of more than 30 coin clubs in New Jersey.

An organizational meeting was held in Cincinnati, Ohio at the American Numismatic Association’s Annual Convention in 1988 where I was elected the founding President of our small club (Casino Chips & Gaming Tokens Collectors Club) that has exploded today to more than 2,000 worldwide members. I served CC&GTCC as founding President for eleven consecutive years, from 1988-1999 with a lot of invaluable help from several other early key officers such as Janice O’Neal, Michael Knapp, Bruce Landau, Chuck Tomarchio, Earl Donley, Jim Steffner and others along the way. I was also the organization’s First Newsletter Editor for several early years and the club’s first Convention Chairman in 1992 and 1993 … held at the old Aladdin Hotel Casino in Las Vegas.  I have attended every convention held in Las Vegas since then and have been the honored recipient of several club awards, from “Recruiter of The Year” over a ten year period;  to Honorary Life Member #001; to being the first inductee into the CC&GTCC’s Hall of Fame.

I’ve published two widely-accepted standard reference catalogs, “Black’s Catalog of Atlantic City Casino Chips & Gaming Tokens” issued 1990; revised 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010. The 1990 Edition was the first fully illustrated catalog in the hobby that featured full-color illustrations of chips. The 2008 Edition of Black’s Catalog of Atlantic City Casino Chips & Gaming Tokens” was named “Book Of The Year” by the CC&GTCC.  In 1999 I authored a companion catalog, also fully illustrated, “Black’s Catalog of Puerto Rico Casino Chips” which still remains today as the standard reference work on that popular subject.

In the year 2000, I befriended a couple of individuals, David Juergens and Dennis Garnier, to whom I owe a big debt of gratitude who made my Atlantic City web-site www.MrNJChips.com/ACChips/home.htm possible.  Dennis Garnier, a very good friend, still maintains and periodically updates my A.C. website.

I am available to answer most any questions you may have about this wonderful hobby.  My email address is ablack2@optimum.net