following article was posted by Jim on the old Prodigy Board
on January 31st, 1998
Chip Rack #4 lists approximately 311 50 cent Nevada chips.
I am aware of another 10 to 20 50 cent Nevada chips that are
not listed. I am sure as this hobby grows we as collectors
will learn much more about this denomination than has
already been revealed. 50 cent chips, in my opinion, are the
second rarest denomination to collect next to the elusive 10
cent piece. When casino owners order 50 cent chips common
sense should tell us they order far less than any other
denomination. Generally they are used on a specific game or
promotion as well as in the blackjack pit where a $5.00 bet
will get you $7.50 on a blackjack! Over the years 50 cent
chips have come in just about every mold, hot stamp and
inlay, no cash value, and combination of each.
However, no 50 cent chip has received as much attention
from collectors as the beautiful "dovetail". The "dovetail"
is a work of art!!! It usually will be found in the Christy
& Jones hat and cane mold characterized by those shiny hats
and canes. You will know it immediately when you see it. Two
different clay colors joined at the center by a dovetail
cut. The two most striking colors to the eye are generally
the red and yellow combination. Other combinations of
green-red, blue-grey, green-purple, etc. have also been
used. When you talk about a dovetail it should be defined in
terms of the color of the "tail". When the two colors are
joined together, the tail section will be in one or the
other of the two colors used. So, if a chip has a red half
and a yellow half the dovetail section or tail could be red
or yellow. If it is red - you have a red dovetail; if it is
yellow - you have a yellow dovetail. If you find a "red"
dovetail you can rest assured it's sister "yellow" tail also
was made. This would apply to any color combinations used by
the various manufacturers.
Most of the dovetails were produced during the 60's and
early 70's. The majority of them are in the 50 cent
denomination. Some $1.00 dovetails were also made such as
the $1.00 Mustang Club in Ely, Nevada. The only dovetail I
am aware of that was manufactured in a mold other than
Christy & Jones hat and cane was the Golden Nugget 50 cent
grey-blue dovetail made in the Golden Nugget house mold.
This chip sold for $1,000.00 at our last convention. How do
I know this??? I saw it with my own eyes!!!! I am also aware
of the Riviera 50 cent red-green dovetail that has been
offered for sale at $800.00. This one has not as yet sold
but it will. Why? How many have you seen in your lifetime?
The sale of the 50 cent GN dovetail is but one example of
what a "rare" dovetail will bring.
The next chip rack should reflect this value since it was
an actual sale and not merely an "offer" to sell. 50 cent
dovetails are disappearing fast and soon will join the all
but gone 10 cent chips. Some of the more common dovetails
such as the Diamond Jim's Nevada Club can still be found but
the $40.00 - $50.00 price tags are not there. At the recent
Arizona Charlie's show, I saw maybe a half-dozen pieces
priced from $75.00 and up. In general, ALL 50 cent pieces,
dovetails included, are starting to become tough! If you are
thinking about putting together a collection of 50 cent
pieces I would suggest you start now! If you wait too long
you may need a 2nd on your home just to get started.