Auctions | February 12, 2021

Potter & Potter Auctions' Gambling Sale Brings $315,000

Courtesy of Potter & Potter

The Poker Chips Magazine complete file realized $3,840.

Chicago — Potter & Potter Auctions' late January gambling sale launched the auction year in the best way possible, with nearly a 98% sell through rate overall. When the hammer fell for the last time, 63 lots realized $750-2,000; 15 lots made $2,001-$9,999; and two lots broke the five figure mark. All prices noted include the company's 20% buyer's premium.

Breathtaking antique gambling apparatus and cheating devices took several of the top spots in this exciting sale.
•    Lot #357, Dai Vernon’s personally owned gaffed Faro box, was estimated at $6,000-9,000 and delivered $13,200. Made in Chicago at the turn of the 20th century, this German silver example retained its period brown leather case and was accompanied by an autographed, signed note by Vernon from his sale of the item to collector Tom Blue.  
•    Lot #320, a rare and unusual roulette/gaming wheel set from the 1930s spun its way to $7,200 on its $2,00-3,000 estimate. This set of three painted wood and glass gaming wheels rested on a bar within an ornately cast nickel cast iron stand and spun freely beside a second nickel wheel with leather flap stopper.  
•    Lot #371, an early 20th century gambler’s arm/sleeve card holdout sold for $2,400 on its $500-750 estimate. This brass and metal Jacob’s Ladder holdout had leather straps and was designed to be worn under a shirt on the lower wrist.

This sale's robust selections of rare and unusual poker chips and markers produced impressive sales results as well.
•    Lot #535, a Hotel Fremont $5 faro casino chip, delivered $3,600 on its $150-250 estimate. This mustard and lavender example was drilled twice and notched three times.
•    Lot #610, a pair of Dix Mille Mother of Pearl markers, traded hands at $1,320 on their $150-250 estimate. These large and scarce 10,000 franc markers were deeply engraved in blue.
•    Lot #617, a collection of five 1920s-era crest and seal chips, made $960 on their $100-200 estimate. They included examples from four different Elks lodges and one other chip with Chinese lettering.
•    Lot #631, a yellow $25 crest and seal chip from the Houston Club, sold for $540 on its $50-100 estimate.
•    Lot #635, a pair of scarce of I Am the Barker (Variety Club) crest and seal chips, cashed in at $660 on its $50-150 estimate. The lot included one yellow and one red example.
•    Lot #636, a pair of scarce Dennis/Artichoke Joe’s crest and seal chips, attributed to Artichoke Joe’s of San Bruno, CA, realized $570 on its $50-150 estimate.

This auction also delivered the upper hand in the playing card categories.
•    Lot #200, a deck of Philippine souvenir playing cards in very good condition produced for the St. Louis Expo in 1904, realized $1,560 on its $100-200 estimate.
•    Lot #274, a deck of Hard-A-Port Cut Plug Tobacco insert playing cards from c. 1890, sold for $2,400 on its $500-750 estimate. Produced in New York by Lindner, Eddy & Clauss, each card featured a different color illustration of a voluptuous beauty.
•    Lot #275, a deck of Snipe Plug Cut Tobacco insert playing cards from c. 1887 made $1,800 on its $500-750 auction estimate. Printed by Gravely & Miller, each card was decorated with a full-length beauty in a somewhat suggestive pose.

Fine books, ephemera, and unusual gambling themed antiques rounded out this midwinter sale.
•    Lot #13, a first edition of SW Erdnase's The Expert at the Card Table, was estimated at $6,000-9,000 and brought $11,400. Self-published in Chicago in 1902, this classic tome was Illustrated with 100 + drawings “from life” by Marshall D. Smith.
•    Lot #39, a complete file of six issues of Poker Chips Magazine from 1896, sold for $3,840. Each issue was in its original lithographed wrappers. The magazine folded after six issues. This is only the second complete file of Poker Chips in original wrappers to come to auction, and one of but a handful known.
•    Lot #317, a collection of four Old West/gambler’s style push daggers, made $660 on their $50-100 estimate. They included a steel blade push dagger with a brass scabbard and a brass and enamel handled dagger marked “Pakistan” in a leather sheath.

According to Gabe Fajuri, President at Potter & Potter Auctions, "We were thrilled to see spirited bidding in a category that was, for the most part, new to us - casino poker chips. The results speak for themselves, with nearly every lot selling (the sell through rate was nearly 99%), and most of the lots brought prices at or above their high estimates - and in many cases, multiples of the high estimate. Seeing as this is only the first selection from Mr. Eisenstadt's collection, we are anxiously awaiting the next installment - nearly as much as chip collectors are!"