Photographing small valuable objects (p-p-p-poker chips)

My other 2/3rds (the husband’s a foot+ taller than me) works for a software gaming company in Cambridge, MA that specializes in designing online poker games for folks that live in Europe. For whatever quirk of legislation, in the USA, you’re allowed to design the online games, but you can’t actually have American online gamers as your clients.

It so happens in his non-work life, Jer also enjoys everything about poker. Me? I can barely play Go Fish, but I try to be supportive and nod gamely (heh) when he talks about work.

But I started to get interested when Jer began investigating gaming history and collecting casino chips or “jetons” and trying to photograph them so that he could upload the images to history sites. He came up to me one evening, asked to borrow an old DSLR camera of mine and grabbed some lights. Two hours later, he unearthed himself from my studio, grimacing, and growled, “I couldn’t get a single decent shot (insert wifely photographer schadenfreude here).”

So, I asked him to hand over some of his chips, and thought to myself, “Huh, some of these things are really nifty. These will be fun to shoot!” – and off we went back into the studio.

Here are two chips I shot that were especially attractive:

The red chip was found in an antique store in Paris that Jer walked by when on a business trip.  His eye caught a beautiful vase full of chips as he was walking by the little store that mostly carried antique paintings. The chips had been unearthed in a safe in a patron’s house. This kind of chip is called a plaque which is used for larger denominations of money – this particular chip from a former casino in NIce was worth 500 francs or about 100 US dollars.

The copper chip, courtesy of the lovely Ebay, is a current chip being used by a historic casino in Monte Carlo, Monaco. I just loved how it sparkled in the light with those metallic strands.

Enjoy the photographs!

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