SI Vault
October 05, 1964
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October 05, 1964


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From 1957 to date fishermen have taken 34,410 lunker bass out of Bull Shoals Lake in northern Arkansas. In this tabulation a lunker must weigh at least four pounds to be counted. Biggest so far: 13 pounds 14 ounces.

But anglers have paid a mighty price for their success. While scuba diving last week along the steep slopes of what used to be mountain valleys before the lake was made, a biologist found old cedar trees still standing and so heavily festooned with busted fishing lines that they looked as if they were covered with spider webs. Rusting lures hung from the trees like Christmas ornaments.

The anglers were on target, though. The inquiring biologist saw many a broad-beamed bass, as well as numbers of large catfish up to 40 pounds, resting among the trees.


The inimitable red and white wines of Burgundy have their counterpart in the inimitable red and white (and blue and yellow) casino chips of Burgundy. For some 200 gambling establishments around the world—from London's Crockford's Club, which requires chips worth $14,000 apiece, to The Sands in Las Vegas and the Mokattam in Cairo—Daniel Senard of Beaune produces chips worth $40 million every year.

The chips have to be inimitable because they are a negotiable currency in gambling resorts. Forty years ago counterfeiters took the Monte Carlo Casino for $120,000 in a single day. Which is how Senard's predecessor, Claudius Grasset, got into the business. He fashioned a laminated chip that, for its time, was considered too complicated for counterfeiters. Monte Carlo bought it and is still buying. Today's Senard technicians would consider that old one naively simple. Now they laminate from six to 12 layers of different plastic materials, some of which cannot be bought on the market, into their chips. For those of large denomination, like that $14,000 rectangular red-and-blue item he makes for Crockford's, Senard inserts a layer of golden lacework. For The Sands he fabricated three transparent "eyes," two of them fluorescent, in the $1,000 chip. On some he prints insignia that are invisible except under special light, such as ultraviolet.

From time to time a casino in Venice or Baden-Baden or Vichy sends "counterfeit" chips to Senard. "Usually the chips are genuine," he says. "What has happened is that a gambler has left several chips in his coat pocket and sent his suit to the dry cleaner. Under the heat they warp or shrink."

In the center of the more costly chips produced for Venice's Municipal Casino, Senard lithographs Venetian landmarks, such as St. Mark's Plaza and Rialto Bridge.

No Bridge of Sighs, though.

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