A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from May 22, 2009
Blue Chip

Card games such as poker often use colored chips for wagering. A white chip is the lowest value, a red chip is often equal to two white chips, and a blue chip (highest value) is equal to two red chips or four white chips. White, red and blue chips are cited in print from at least the 1870s.
Oliver Gingold, longtime editor of the Wall Street Journal‘s “Abreast of the Market” column, is usually given credit for calling Wall Street’s financially strongest stocks “blue chips” in 1923 or 1924. The term “blue chip” frequently appeared in the New York (NY) Times and other newspapers from 1926-1927. However, “blue chip” has been mentioned in financial pages since at least 1888.
Wikipedia: Blue chip (stock market)
A blue chip stock is the stock of a well-established company having stable earnings and no extensive liabilities. The term derives from casinos, where blue chips stand for counters of the highest value.  Most blue chip stocks pay regular dividends, even when business is faring worse than usual.
The phrase was coined by Oliver Gingold of Dow Jones sometime in 1923 or 1924. Company folklore recounts that the term apparently got its start when Gingold was standing by the stock ticker at the brokerage firm that later became Merrill Lynch. Noticing several trades at USD$200 or USD$250 a share or more, he said to Lucien Hooper of W.E. Hutton & Co. that he intended to return to the office to “write about these blue chip stocks.” Thus the phrase was born. It has been in use ever since, originally in reference to high-priced stocks, more commonly used today to refer to high-quality stocks. In contemporary media, Blue Chips and their daily performances are frequently mentioned alongside other economic averages like the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
What Does Blue Chip Mean?
A nationally recognized, well-established and financially sound company. Blue chips generally sell high-quality, widely accepted products and services. Blue chip companies are known to weather downturns and operate profitably in the face of adverse economic conditions, which helps to contribute to their long record of stable and reliable growth.
The name “blue chip” came about because in the game of poker the blue chips have the highest value.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Main Entry: blue chip
Function: noun
Date: 1929
1 a: a business or undertaking with an outstanding record or likelihood of profitability b: a stock issue of high investment quality that usually pertains to a substantial well-established company and enjoys public confidence in its worth and stability ; also : a company that offers such stocks
2: one that is outstanding: as a: an outstandingly worthwhile or valuable property or asset b: an athlete rated as excellent or as an excellent prospect
blue–chip adjective
(Oxford English Dictionary)
blue chip
orig. U.S.
A blue counter used in Poker, usu. of high value. Also transf., spec. Stock Exchange, a share considered to be a fairly reliable investment, though less secure than gilt-edged; hence any reliable enterprise, etc. Also attrib. or quasi-adj. Cf. BLUE n. 4c.
1904 S. E. WHITE Blazed Trail Stories viii. 146, I reckon I don’t stack up very high in th’ blue chips.
1929 Sun (Baltimore) 30 Oct. 12/2 Agriculture still has too much to reclaim..to become a ‘blue chip’ in the near future.
1932 Ibid. 16 Apr. 15/8 Investors do not see as much intrinsic value in lower-priced issues as they do in the so-called ‘blue chips’.
1935 Economist 17 Aug. 339/1 The result is not a ‘blue-chip’ boom.
1954 Ibid. 20 Feb. 568/2 Tobacco equities seem rather more vulnerable than other industrial ‘blue-chips’.
5 December 1861, Patriot (PA), “A Model Body Guard,” pg. 5: 
Each man shall have plenty of cards and red chips to play poker with.
14 March 1876, Owyhee Advocate (ID), pg. 3:
Brothers, when you play pokair,
Take heed that you bet with care!
One white chip for two big pair;
Five round white chips for one small pair,
Ten round white chips for not any pair;—
See to it that you play with care!
11 December 1878, Fort Wayne (IN) Weekly Sentinel, ‘Gambling in Washington,” pg. 1, col. 5:
He always played blue chips, never got excited at all, but took more solid comfort out of it than most any man I ever saw.
Google Books
Glimpses of Gotham ; And, City Characters
By Samuel Anderson Mackeever
Edition: 2
New York, NY: National Police Gazette Office
Pg. 19 (Private Gaming Establishments):
“I have cards, and a set of regular red, white and blue chips.”
17 January 1885, Boston (MA) Daily Globe, pg. 4:
New York Sun:  A citizen who had been playing poker the night before dropped a blue chip into the contribution box by mistake.  After service he went to the deacon who had passed the plate and told him of the mistake.  “So I’ll just give you a dollar in its place,” he said, “and we’ll keep the matter quiet.”  “No, you don’t,” replied the deacon, ignoring the money offered; “that’s a blue chip. It’s worth $5.”
5 January 1888, Duluth (MN) News-Tribune, “Chicago Markets,” pg. 7:
The “blue chips” as the brokers call the local heavy weights, made a concerted drive at provisions this forenoon, but on the break, as on all previous forced depressions, a wall of country buying orders was met.
7 April 1888, Duluth (MN) News-Tribune, “Chicago Markets,” pg. 3:
Frank Clifton found it utterly impossible to work up a trade in July, but the volume of dealing in June has been on the increase the “Blue Chips” have been bearing down on that month ever since they got out of May, and today June pork crossed May, and ribs for all months suffered considerable depreciation.
12 February 1892, Inter Ocean (Chicago, IL), “Day of Wild Excitement in the Stock Exchange,” pg. 1:
Transactions were not only enormous in the aggregate, but nearly all the individual trades were on a large scale.
“What’s bid for one hundred?” cried a broker, rushing up to the Reading crowd.
“Run away, little boy,” answered another mopping his brow. “We are playing with blue chips only to-day.”
14 December 1899, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “In Wall Street,” pg. 15:
The little gamblers who pay with cheap white chips were cleaned out of their money a week ago. On Monday and Tuesday the red chips were raked away from the middle class. To-day the blue chips were reached. To-day’s was a big men’s market. It was liquidation by the men with big bank rolls that broke the market this afternoon.   
26 April 1901, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, pg. 13:
The board members of one of the most prominent firms in Wall street said to-day: “The Stock Exchange is now only a gambling house, and the Chicago crowd are playing with blue chips.”
25 August 1905, Baltimore (MD) American, “Wall Street Gossip,” pg. 9:
Some traders say that the only people who are in the market are those who can afford to play with blue chips.
9 August 1918, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “Late Gossip of Wall Street,” pg. 14:
Said a member of a leading brokerage house: “However, this stock is a highly sensitive blue chip of speculation and should not be handled by novices.”
6 July 1922, New York (NY) Times, pg. 32:
Brokers say that the exchange into Pan American Petroleum would prove advantageous to the shareholders, relieve the Stock Exchange of any embarrassment in connection with the trading, and take away from the professional traders a stock which has come to be considered Wall Street’s “blue chip” in the speculative game.
17 March 1926, New York (NY) Times, “Topics in Wall Street,” pg. 31:
To Cancel a Blue Chip.
The elimination of the old shares of American Can, which will be stricken from the Stock Exchange list on March 26, will remove from trading one of Wall Street’s favorite “blue chips.”
3 August 1926, New York (NY) Times, pg. 26:
Wall Street Loses a Favorite
“Blue Chip” With Passing
of the Old Shares.
30 December 1926, New York (NY) Times, “Topics in Wall Street,” pg. 25:
It became quite evident in late afternoon that the short interest in such issues as Baldwin, United States Steel, United States Cast Iron Pipe, Hudson Motors and a few others of the same sort, which have been designated as “blue chips” in the speculative game, was unusually large.
18 March 1927, Lincoln (NE) Star, pg. 22, col. 3:
Rumors of Melon Cutting and Ac-
tivity of Speculators in “Blue Chip
Issues” Send Prices Skyward.

NEW YORK, March 18.—(AP)—Wall Street speculators playing with what are popularly known as the “blue chip issues” of the stock market, Thursday sent more than a dozen high grade rails and industrials to record high prices as the flames of bullish enthusiasm were fanned by rumors of further “melon cutting” and high cash dividends.”
19 May 1927, Decatur (IL) Review, pg. 19, col. 5:
This failed, however, to check the bullish demonstrations in the other so-called “blue chip” stocks.
9 March 1966, Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette, pg. 3A, col. 3:
Editor Dies
NEW YORK (AP)—Oliver Gingold, 80, editor of the Wall Street Journal’s “Abreast of the Market” column since 1933, died of pneumonia Tuesday.
Google Books
The Law, Disclosure, and the Securities Market
By Robert L. Clare, Practising Law Institute
Published by Practising Law Institute
Pg. 10:
The quality of listings leaves little room for argument, at least at the top of the list since the Big Board is the home of the “blue chips.”*
*This phrase was coined by the late Oliver Gingold of the Wall Street Journal.
Google Books
The Wall Street Journal:
The story of Dow Jones & the nation’s business newspaper

By Lloyd Wendt
Published by Rand McNally
Pg. 167: 
He (Oliver Gingold—ed.) was credited with inventing the phrase “blue chip” for top, old-line stocks

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • Friday, May 22, 2009 • Permalink

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