Submitted by jays on 28 January 2014 - 3:20pm

This brown cardboard ‘suitcase’, 35cm square, was confiscated by Sydney police from a man named William Mason in 1914. It is fitted with two enticing hand-painted ‘boards’ for games of chance: a mat for the dice game Crown and Anchor painted on the underside of the lid, and the case itself fitted with a combination Chocolate Wheel and Crown and Anchor. In Crown and Anchor the mat is marked with six symbols: a crown, an anchor and the four devices on playing cards, heart, diamond, spade and club. The symbols correspond to those on a dice. The players place bets on one or more symbols and the winners are those whose chosen symbols come up when the dice is thrown.  The game was extremely popular with Australian servicemen during the First World War and there were even allegations that soldiers deserted the front line in order to play the game. This Chocolate Wheel is a variant of the more usual numbered wheel and could be played with the Crown and Anchor dice. It has been rigged. Criminals skilled at sleight of hand tricks could also manipulate the game play in dice games, winning money from gullible gamblers.

Photograph: Jamie North, 2013
Brown cardboard ‘suitcase’ containing a Crown and Anchor Chocolate Wheel, circa 1914 Brown cardboard ‘suitcase’ containing a Crown and Anchor Chocolate Wheel, circa 1914 Brown cardboard ‘suitcase’ containing a Crown and Anchor Chocolate Wheel, circa 1914 Brown cardboard ‘suitcase’ containing a Crown and Anchor Chocolate Wheel, circa 1914 Brown cardboard ‘suitcase’ containing a Crown and Anchor Chocolate Wheel, circa 1914
Portrait
Justice & Police Museum
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JP1910/462