by David Spragg
At the time Bill Borland purchased the rights to the Nevada & DieCard molds (c1991) he probably also purchased a large number of blank chips from these molds. He may well have subsequently had further supplies made by Atlantic Standard when that initial stock was depleted. Borland also apparently purchased the hot-stamp dies used by a number of casinos that were either closed, or had changed the style of their chips since the dies were used, in order to hot-stamp the blanks at his store.
Borland then proceeded to hot-stamp the chips himself for sale to collectors.
Quite why Borland chose to counterfeit the particular chips he did may always remain a mystery. It may just have been that these were the only dies he was able to purchase. It is possible that his original intention was to sell these chips as 'souvenirs' in the same manner as the 'Fantasy' chips he had made by Atlantic Standard on the same molds (see Borland Fantasy Chips article) but when he saw the rate at which his chips were selling he 'changed his mind'. These reasons I have given could help to explain the fact that where actual existing chips were counterfeited, the originals were not of great rarity, and some chips that already existed on the 'Nevada' mold were re-produced on the 'DieCard' mold and vice-versa. Whatever the real reasons, it is safe to say that Borland made the chips (this has been verified by an un-named ex-employee) and that with the exception of the Hotel Nevada (see the notes accompanying those chips below) he made them as counterfeits. With that exception, all the chips Borland made were from casinos that were closed prior to him purchasing the rights to the molds.
Counterfeit chips are invariably found in mint condition. Where an existing chip was copied the chances are that it will show signs of wear from use in a casino. In some cases the color of the chip body is slightly different to the original chip that it matches (as the pictures provided are from different sources and cannot be guaranteed to represent 'true color' I have made no comparisons below). On many if not all of Borland's chips, the hot-stamping is in a slightly darker gold leaf (bronze?) than the original chips. The last thing to note is 'alignment'. Borland took great care in making sure the hot-stamping on the vast majority of his chips was correctly aligned ('medal alignment'). That is to say on the 'Nevada' mold chips, the word NEVADA appears directly at the top of the chip, and in the case of the 'DieCard' mold, the 2spot/5 spot dice appear at the top. This alignment occurs on both sides of the chip. Legitimate hot-stamps will not normally be so aligned (unless it happened by accident).
Even given these notes, one will appreciate that it can be extremely difficult to tell whether you are looking at a legitimate chip or a counterfeit. In particular one has to remember that hot-stamp foil would have been available to Borland in various colors, re-orders of blanks may have come in fractionally different shades and some of the chips may not be exactly aligned as Borland's employees would have gone blind trying to perfect them all!
So far, 55 different possible counterfeit chips have been identified along with the 3 genuine (Hotel Nevada) chips Borland also produced. They are listed in the tables below with pictures where available. The information contained here has been provided my many sources and acknowledgements appear at the bottom. Where there are no pictures, the existence of the chip has not been confirmed by the editor. All but one of these issues are listed in TCR (The Chip Rack) and annotated with notes (003 & 004) which appear at the back of the publication. Some of the issues pictured have not yet been conclusively proved to be Borland's work and are annotated accordingly.
I appreciate some aspects of this reference may not be conclusive to everyone and therefore welcome any additional substantive information that can be provided.
Ref Casino (LV unless stated) Denom TCR# Mold Color Notes 1 Bank Club, Ely $1.00 N0966 DIECAR mustard 2 Barney's, Lake Tahoe $1.00 N9342 DIECAR blue 3 Boon Dock's, Winnemucca $25.00 V3743 DIECAR black 4 Casino, The 25c N6100 NEVADA royal blue 5 Castaways 25c N1449 NEVADA burnt orange 6 Castaways 50c N9448 NEVADA cream 7 Castaways $1.00 E0200 DIECAR turquoise 8 Castaways $1.00 V3845 DIECAR mustard 'matched play' 9 Castaways $5.00 N9449 DIECAR red 'poker'
Ref Casino (LV unless stated) Denom TCR# Mold Color Notes 10 Center-Fold $1.00 N0961 DIECAR mustard 11 El Morocco $5.00 N0918 DIECAR purple 3 orange inserts
The El Morocco chip is the only example of Borland hot-stamping a chip with inserts.
Ref Casino (LV unless stated) Denom TCR# Mold Color Notes 12 Flamingo Capri NCV N9663 NEVADA purple '$2 for $1' 13 Flamingo Capri NCV N9662 NEVADA rust 'freeplay' 15 Flamingo Capri 25c V8490 NEVADA brown 17 Flamingo Capri 50c N9664 NEVADA brown 18 Flamingo Capri $1.00 N1589 NEVADA biege
Previously listed as (14) & (16), the orange Flamingo Capri 'matchplay $2 for $1' NCV and the 25c navy are not Borland counterfeits and have been removed.
Ref Casino (LV unless stated) Denom TCR# Mold Color Notes 19 Foxxy Lady $1.00 N6080 NEVADA mustard 20 Foxxy Lady $5.00 N6054 NEVADA red
Ref Casino (LV unless stated) Denom TCR# Mold Color Notes 21 Hotel Nevada, Battle Mountain 25c DIECAR purple incuse 22 Hotel Nevada, Battle Mountain $1.00 N9985 DIECAR off-white incuse 23 Hotel Nevada, Battle Mountain $5.00 N9986 DIECAR red incuse
The Hotel Nevada is the only casino for which we know Borland actually supplied 'real' chips. Following the discovery initially of a 25c example, it was noted that the Hotel Nevada was (and still is) open after Borland had acquired the molds. Subsequent investigation revealed that the the Bud Jones salesman for HN had never supplied that chip and the Hotel Nevada were able to confirm the chip was purchased from Borland. Borland had to have had a die made to fulfil this order as the chip is slightly different to the one that was already in play. Although it hasn't been possible to confirm with certainty that the $1 and $5 values that he made at the same time were also an order for the casino rather than 'counterfeits', all evidence suggests that Borland did not counterfeit the chips of any open casino and that all 3 Hotel Nevada chips are 'real'. In either event it is probably also fair to comment that there is no way of knowing whether Borland made 'extras' of any of these values for 'his own use'.
Ref Casino (LV unless stated) Denom TCR# Mold Color Notes 24 Jim's Casino & Saloon, Wendover 50c V1011 DIECAR mustard 25 King of Clubs, Sparks 10c N1000 DIECAR orange 26 King of Clubs, Sparks 25c N0990 DIECAR cream 27 Lucky Club, Henderson $5.00 N6045 NEVADA red 'non-negotiable' 28 Lucky Club, Henderson $25.00 N6036 NEVADA green 'non-negotiable' 29 Lucky Club, Henderson $100.00 N6033 NEVADA black 'non-negotiable'
Ref Casino (LV unless stated) Denom TCR# Mold Color Notes 30 Model T Truck Stop, Winnemucca 25c V1132 DIECAR black 31 Model T Truck Stop, Winnemucca 50c V1133 DIECAR blue 32 Model T Truck Stop, Winnemucca $1.00 V1134 DIECAR white 33 Model T Truck Stop, Winnemucca $5.00 V1135 DIECAR orange 34 Model T Truck Stop, Winnemucca $25.00 V1136 DIECAR green 35 Model T Truck Stop, Winnemucca $100.00 V1137 DIECAR black
The Model T Truck Stop appears to be the least seen of the series. Whilst the existence of 6 values is positively confirmed, research yielded this one notched example only.
Ref Casino (LV unless stated) Denom TCR# Mold Color Notes 36 Money Tree 50c V1141 NEVADA green 'table play non-negotiable' 37 Money Tree 50c V1140 NEVADA green 38 Money Tree $1.00 V1142 DIECAR navy 'las vegas' 39 Money Tree $1.00 N0969 DIECAR green incuse 40 Money Tree $1.00 N6079 NEVADA yellow 'table play non-negotiable' 41 Money Tree $5.00 N0956 DIECAR orange 'las vegas' 42 Money Tree $5.00 N6053 NEVADA dark pink 'table play non-negotiable' 43 Money Tree $25.00 N6038 NEVADA brown 'table play non-negotiable' 44 Money Tree $100.00 N6034 NEVADA lavender 'table play non-negotiable'
Ref Casino (LV unless stated) Denom TCR# Mold Color Notes 45 Mustang Club, Ely $1.00 N0977 DIECAR red 46 Nevada Club $1.00 V1176 DIECAR dark red 'starter chip' 47 Nevada Club $1.00 V3136 NEVADA navy 'starter chip' 48 Nevada Club $5.00 N6052 NEVADA red 'starter chip' 49 Nevada Club $25.00 V1177 DIECAR black 'starter chip' 50 River Queen Casino $2.50 V1421 DIECAR fushcia 51 Silver Slipper 50c V1533 DIECAR cream 52 Silver Slipper $1.00 N0973 DIECAR blue 53 Silver Slipper $5.00 V1534 DIECAR rust
Whilst 'attributed' to Borland, no evidence has been provided that the Silver Slipper chips are in fact Borland's work, or indeed counterfeits.
Ref Casino (LV unless stated) Denom TCR# Mold Color Notes 54 Thunderbird 50c V1643 DIECAR brown 55 Thunderbird 50c V1644 DIECAR maroon-brown
Although listed in TCR, the editor is unaware of any evidence that the Thunderbird Chips exist, counterfeit or otherwise.
Ref Casino (LV unless stated) Denom TCR# Mold Color Notes 56 Wheel, The $1.00 V1713 DIECAR off-white 57 Wheel, The $5.00 V1714 DIECAR burnt orange 58 Wheel, The $25.00 N0952 DIECAR green
Examples of sample boards used in Borland's store
Many people have contributed directly and indirectly to past and present research on this subject. Thanks, in no particular order, go to Gene Trimble, Howard Herz, Armin Pfaender, Jay Sands, Mike Quinlivan, Pete Klinger, Doug 'Cigarman' Smith, Scott Jaske, Don Lueders (for providing the pictures of the sample boards) and last but not least Allan Myers on behalf of KMW publishing (The Chip Rack) for kind permission to extract information from that provided in notes 003 and 004 in their publication.
I welcome your comments by email.