Oh, to have owned an old west saloon. I would have called it, ” The Palace Royal Gambling Hall”.
As I ride down the dusty street towards my place I can hear the piano music flowing out the front entrance. Slowing to a halt as I pull up reins and dismount I now hear all the chatter of people inside. The sounds of laughter and music, coins clanging together along with glasses and bottles. A huge thirst hits me as I walk through the batwing doors while knocking the dust from my clothes with my hat. My eyes feast on the sights through a haze of smoke. In one corner I see a barber hard at work. The gals all dressed in the latest fashion catch my eyes as I continue to survey the sights. I next notice the highly polished bar with the fancy back bar and huge mirror. Looking into the mirror I see the poker tables and beyond them a pool table, all busy with customers laughing and having a good time.
It’s a typical friday night as the crowd begins to swell and people are jammed elbow to elbow. But this night is different in that Lilly Langtree has come to town and will be putting on a performance shortly. She is truly the Queen of all the cowtowns and the biggest thing to come to these parts, ever!
I hear my name being called out and begin to make my way towards the gambling tables. As I pass the Keno table and Chuck-A-Luck I notice a large gathering of cowboys cutting up and think to myself it’s going to be a wild night tonight. As I approach the poker table the boys gathered around open a pathway for me and I now see my old pals setting at the table. To my left is ol’ Doc and to his left is Bat. On my right is Wyatt and beyond him is my nemesis Jim Courtright. Directly in front of me is an open seat. The boys all greet me as I slide into the chair. As I reach into my breast pocket to pull out my money I think to myself, it doesn’t get any better then this. But before my money hits the table I hear, “honey, dinner is ready”. My dream has come to a screeching halt as I am jolted back to reality and the first hand hasn’t even been dealt.
Tags: antique gambling, Bat Masterson, Chuck-A-Luck, Cow Towns, Doc Holliday, faro, old west saloon, Wyatt Earp
Card Presses, the type used in the Old West to help preserve playing cards came in all shapes, sizes and materials. Back in January 2008 I wrote about the most common of all the card presses used by gamblers and gambling houses in the Old West, the ones made of wood.
Those presses were very functional and served their purpose well but were plain in appearance and styling.
An alternative to the plain wood style card press during that time was the ornate metal style card press that was functional but also highly attractive. They are the rarest of all the card presses and today you will find it difficult to locate many in the market place.
In the book, “Gambling Collectibles, A Sure Winner” by Leonard Schneir 1991 there are two very early (1860) card presses pictured on page 120 valued at between $800.00 and $1200.00. At the Rich Penn Auction in 2006, featuring the lifetime collections of Jim Boeke and John Buckland, a collection of gambling and related old west items that sold for nearly one-half million dollars, yet they had but one ornate metal card press and it sold for $1300.00.
Most all the ornate metal style presses come in a vertical format while the all-wood presses tend to come in a horizontal format. Both styles hold multiple decks and are very portable. It’s the compact size and appearance appeal that collectors find so inviting. Keep a lookout for card presses at Antique shops, flea markets, garage sales or just stop by OldWestAntiques where you will find both both styles available today.
We at Old West Antiques enjoy talking about collectibles and in particular Old West items so don’t hesitate to email us or give us a call.
Tags: antique gambling, Cardpress, old west collectibles