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Chinese export mother of pearl gaming counters/ chips - all you need to know about them in one site: history, styles, dates, armorials, non-armorials, sets, lacquer boxe.....

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Counters with Inscriptions

Some counters, as we have seen in some of the sets, are inscribed with the names of games (Whist) or for particular functions in games (Whist Dobrado etc.). Many armorial and crested counters have mottoes which relate generally to their coat of arms. One particular type of counter was made to commemorate Napoleon\'s death and referred to Napoleon\'s house and tomb; precisely why this was commemorated on a gaming counter is a mystery to me. Some counters have other types of inscription and these are rather unusual and often rare.

Counter 1

This is an incredibly rare Chinese inscribed fish (unfortunately, as you can see, someone has drilled a hole right through the eye).

Counter 1 detail

Here is the inscription in detail.

Counter 2

This beautiful deep-carved counter is inscribed in Chinese with 'Sha Ti Hua' which translated can have several meanings including 'All China' or 'Asia'. Why this was inscribed in Chinese is another ...

Counter 2 reverse

The reverse scene is beautifully carved.

Counter 3

This is a fine fretted counter, made for the Williams family.

Counter 3 reverse

Very unusually, they chose to have their name inscribed in Canton (you can tell by the background cross-hatching) on the reverse.

Counter 4

This page is full of mysteries. Why did they have the word 'Glengarry' inscribed on this counter? It doesn't appear to be a motto; nor is it a family name recorded in Burke's Armory. It sounds as if ...

Counter 5

The Ritchie family had several sets of counters made, this one rather unusually gives their name in the area usually allocated to the motto.

Counter 6

This rather fine fretted counter has the inscription 'Keep Your Temper'. Any suggestions why? To do with temperance perhaps??

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