Great Find: Scarce 1912 Chicago Club, Chicago, Illinois, ONE WHITE die cut inlaid poker chip, made by USPC Co.

DESCRIPTION: "The Chicago Club, founded in 1869, is an exclusive private business and social club located in downtown Chicago. Its membership has included many of Chicago's most prominent businessmen, politicians, and families," per Wikipedia Encyclopedia. So some of the most influential people in the country might have been handling these chips almost 100 years ago! ... ... ... I noticed this cute reference on the bottom of the Wikipedia page: "Chicago's Ace of Clubs - How difficult is it to get in? Don't Ask" Anderson, John (April 11, 1982)."

The chip was made by the U.S. Playing Card Co. and is probably from about 1912, but at least from 1919. In brief, here is the story: Howdy Herz, years ago, photographed the pages of the chip sample volumes at the U.S. Playing Card Co. library. (I happen to have a set of the photos.) From those photos, Kregg's Guide to USPC chips was made. Some of the "CC" chip designs look similar. Looks like the ones shown in this auction were missed for the Guide .

Picture #1, above, shows the photo card of the USPC page that lists this chip. Two chip designs are shown on that card -- the CC chip and a TFB chip. (Note: the chips were attached to the sample pages through small holes drilled into the chips; the chip in this auction has no holes, of course.) Small typed notations were glued to the pages, under the chip samples, by USPC people at that time. As you can see in picture #3, the label for the TFB chip is dated "1/9/12." There is no typed date given for the CC chip -- the typed notation merely says, "MADE FOR CHICAGO CLUB, CHICAGO, ILL." There are also handwritten notations, "reorder 10/2/19, Sept. 27th 1920, and Dec. 10, 1924," so the chips are at least that old.

MORE ABOUT THIS FAMOUS CLUB: To gild the lily, here is some more information from Wikipedia, and pictures of a Chicago Club matchbook showing the old logo (virtually the same as on the chips), and a postcard showing the old club building (where these chips were first used), which was torn down and replaced in 1929. (Both pictures courtesy of David C. Brown.) Also shown is the modern logo I copied from the Club's log-in page.

In 1982 a Chicago Tribune editor was able to obtain limited access to the club building. (The club's firm ban on press photographers apparently held as the Tribune produced four water-colour paintings of the club interior in lieu of photographs.) From the Trib's report:

"… [T]he interior splendor of the Chicago Club is as private as a stately home in England, which it much resembles in décor. Indeed, few pedestrians passing by the eight-story red-granite clubhouse at Van Buren and Michigan [in Chicago, near Lake Michigan] even know what the place is. Club members – with such names as Field, Pullman, Lincoln, McCormick, and Blair – may have shaped Chicago history. But they also have developed a sense of privacy that politely but firmly excludes: 1) The entire world, except for the club's 1,200 carefully selected members; 2) Until recently, women; and 3) Reporters and photographers. "We'll fight to the death on that one," growls one club board member…

An introduction into the business high society that runs the Chicago Club has the flavor of "being a debutante," as one member puts it. How do you get in? Don't ask. How tough is it to join? In a word, very. Not only is there a long waiting list, but an applicant needs a sponsoring member, a seconder, lots of letters of support, and a good deal of patience. Most applicants test the waters first, so formal rejections are few. But not even the well-connected can breeze in. As one recent entrant recalls: "I knew most leading members when I arrived in Chicago, and my sponsor was a senior club member. But he had to take me – personally – to the business offices of all 12 club directors. No, we couldn't do it by phone. We had to book appointements, then make small-talk for half an hour in each place."…

Historians might argue that the Chicago Club no longer has the power it wielded in the days when its "millionaires' table" was the lunchtime gathering place of Marshall Field, George Pullman, N. K. Fairbank, John Crerar, and a half-dozen others, each worth millions in the days when that sum meant something. "Everything to be done in Chicago was discussed by that group, and then word was passed out", as Stanley Field put it. … But a visitor, seated on a lobby sofa, and those who sweep in for lunch, could hardly disagree with the recent pecking-order manual, "Who Runs Chicago?" Its conclusion: "The Chicago Club is the center of power in Chicago. It is mandatory for the city's biggest executives to join it, unless they want to be considered not-so-big executives. There are some society matrons who rank the Casino Club above the Chicago. But hell, you can't make many deals sitting around playing bridge with a a lot of old biddies." "


The Chicago Club has been ranked as the 8th "most connected" (made up of the most influential members) organization in the country (of all the think tanks, policy-planning groups, social clubs, trade associations, and opinion-shaping groups in the U.S.!) -- .

CONDITION: used, but OK, no problems. Better than picture.

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Title: Chicago Club, IL, 1912 USPC die-cut illegal poker chip
1912 "Chicago Club,"IL, USPC die-cut illegal poker chip
Relevant, context based key words: poker, chip, chips, gambling, antique, vintage,
illegal, unlicensed club casino Ill. IL
File: Chicago Club, 1912...