Gambling Memorabilia and Rare Books at Potter & Potter Auction

Potter & Potter

The Expert at the Card Table

Potter & Potter's annual gambling memorabilia auction includes a wide selection of material including rare books on cards and cheating, prints and postcards, scarce playing cards, gambling equipment, and thousands of casino and poker chips and sets from Las Vegas and casinos around the world.

Leading the auction on May 18, 2023, is the pseudonymous S.W. Erdnase's landmark book on card manipulation The Expert at the Card Table (1902) which features the bookplate of collector and magic historian, Dr. John Henry Grossman, and ownership stamp of Le Roy McCafferty, both on front pastedown.

Also featured is the richly illustrated first edition of F.R. Ritter's 1905 Combined Treatise on Advantage Card Playing and Draw Poker with photographs of manipulative dealing positions, and of “blockout” work on playing cards, plus illustrations of hold-outs, including the earliest known image of a Jacobs Ladder-style hold-out. Each title has an estimate of $6,000-$9,000.

Other highlights include:

A Grand Exposé of the Science of Gambling, Containing a Complete Disclosure of the Secrets of the Art. As Practiced by Professional Gamblers by 'An Adept', an anonymous author's exposé of the sundry techniques of swindlers, card cheats, and cons. Potter & Potter suggest that these methods of cheating, were "obtained, judging by the narrative tone,
from firsthand experience" (estimate $2,500 - $3,500)

* An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling by Jonathan Harrington Green, 1843, first edition, the first American work of any substance on poker and crooked gamblers’ techniques including tales from the romanticized gambling boats traversing the Mississippi River, as well as experiences with con men, counterfeiters, and pickpockets (estimate $2,000 - $3,000)

* How Gamblers Win by Gerritt M. Evans, 1865, first edition and exceedingly rare. One of the earliest American works to describe the techniques of crooked gamblers, and perhaps the first to focus heavily on cheating in poker (estimate $4,000 - $6,000)

The auction also features movie posters with gambling themes including Universal Pictures' 1938 Gambling Ship starring Robert Wilcox and Helen Mack, The Long Wait (1954 from United Artists) starring Anthony Quinn and Charles Coburn, and Allied Artists' 1955 Las Vegas Shakedown starring Dennis O’Keefe (estimate $100 - $300).