Scanning Casino Chips 101

Last edited January 12, 2017

I am offering my experience with scanning casino chips.  I have scanned chips and later re-scanned them because of a better technique, appearance or equipment.  If you have a lot to scan in your collection start off right by getting the proper scanner.

Basically there are two types of scanners.  The first type is CCD and the second is CIS.

CCD - Charged-Coupled Device

     Pros:      Great for scanning casino chips because of it's close to true colors

     Cons:     Costs to build are higher than CIS type because:

                        It requires a housing unit

                        Uses mirrors and lens to focus the image

                        Uses fluorescent lighting (Newer models use LED lighting)


CIS - Contact Image Device

     Pros:     Eliminates the housing unit

                  Uses LED lighting

                  Runs on battery power or powered USB

                  Great for scanning text

                  Built thin

                  Cheap to build, found in most All-In-One Printer/FAX/Copier/Scan

     Cons:    On occasion it will not scan correct colors

                  Will not clearly focus on objects not in contact with the glass scanner bed

I have an HP All-In-One with a CIS type scanner.  I also have an Epson CCD type scanner.

I scanned a chip with the HP (CIS) and the Epson (CCD).  The scans are of the same Hard Rock Roulette chip and this is

the result:

The CIS scanner does not scan pink very well.  The CCD scan is closer to the true color.

Here's a chip from Las Vegas Hilton.  It's a NCV 5 chip that is a bright pink/orange color.
The CIS scanner does not scan bright pink/orange correctly.  The CCD scan is closer to the true color.

I placed this chip in an air-tite capsule.

A piece of plastic between the chip and the scanner glass is enough space to prevent the CIS scanner from focusing on the chip clearly.

The CIS scanner does not focus well when the object is not touching the scanner glass.

The CCD scanner focuses clearly even within an air-tite.

For my next test I scanned a State Line Hotel & Casino chip with varying distances from the glass scanner bed. These scans show the chip laying flat against the scanner glass.

The next scan shows the chip atop a penny on each side:

This scan shows the chip resting atop two pennies on each end:

These scans show the CIS scanner will not focus well if the object is not in contact with the glass scanner bed.

The CCD scan is clearly in focus. All scans were at 200 dpi.

Here's another test where I used a Palms Grand Opening chip.  It has "Grand Opening 2001" along it's edge.  The words are visible on the left bottom position:

I stood the chip up on the glass bed of both the CIS and CCD scanners and this is the result:

With the CIS scanner only the middle portion that is lying flat against the scanner glass is in focus.  The rest of the chip is distorted.
With the CCD scanner the whole chip is in focus with a little distortion near both ends.

How to scan the edge of a chip?

I was asked "What does it take to scan the edge of a casino chip?"
Well, it takes a lot of patience.  A spirit level helps too.  A spirit level is also known as a bubble level or carpenter's level.

Both the length and width of the glass bed should be level.  The picture below shows how the scanner glass bed must be level or the chip will keep rolling to one side.
In the picture the scanner starts from the right and travels to the left.  I've placed the chip sideways so the scan is a short distance. The scan seems to turn out better this way.
The next step is to make the room dark.  This makes the background around the chip black.  You can attempt to scan when there is light and see how it turns out.  There are reflections from my ceiling when the room is lighted so I make my room dark when I scan with the lid open for a black background.

How to Check for a CIS versus a CCD scanner

When shopping for a scanner check the "Specifications" of a particular model to see if it is a CIS or CCD type.

Here are two examples of Epson Perfection scanners.
One is an Epson Perfection V370 and the other is an Epson Perfection V19.
Different devices are used for scanning.
The Perfection V19 has a CIS device while the Perfection V370 has a CCD device:

Epson Perfection

Conclusion: I'm not bashing the CIS type scanner; it has it's place. If you're scanning casino chips use a CCD type scanner to get close to true color and depth of field focus. Also, some of the newer CCD scanners use LED lights and the costs have dropped.