Submitted by jays on 28 January 2014 - 3:13pm

These home-made leather dice shakers were confiscated by NSW Police from a man named Herbert William Lees at Scone in 1933 when he was arrested and charged with vagrancy, with being ‘a reputed cheat’, and with ‘having in his possession instruments of gaming’. Police had received complaints about Lees and in court it was alleged that he was a confidence man, someone who scammed others out of their money. Lees himself admitted that he had been warned off, or banned, from racecourses in NSW after he was accused of involvement in horse doping. When they arrested him, police found a pack of cards and two sets of dice, including a ‘loaded’ one, as well as the shakers. Further investigation revealed that one of the shakers had a metal bar inserted into it which could be manipulated to trap the real die against the wall of the shaker allowing the introduction of the loaded one into the game. Lees claimed that he carried the seized articles as curios. He was convicted of vagrancy and sentenced to four months gaol with hard labour but he managed to have his sentence overturned on a technicality.

Photograph: Jamie North, 2013
Two dice shakers made of stitched leather, circa 1933 Dice shaker made of stitched leather, circa 1933 Dice shaker made of stitched leather, circa 1933 Two dice shakers made of stitched leather, circa 1933
Portrait
Justice & Police Museum
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JP1910/472 + JP191/474