Rare new find -- club chip of 1950's Frolics Club, Cicero,
Illinois (a Chicago suburb) (This page is based on an eBay auction of mine.)
DESCRIPTION: I am pleased to be offering for buy-it-now
this important, exciting new find. Until now, no gambling chips were known
to exist from this Cicero, Illinois, Mafia-controlled club, which was owned
by Joseph "Joey Doves" Aiuppa, who rose to the top level of the Chicago Mafia,
the "Outfit." (Cicero is a small town that borders Chicago.) I discovered
these chips, and only I have any for sale. I have only 10 of these chips
Other Chicago chip collectors and I have documented the tie-in
between Aiuppa, the Frolics and these chips:
- Cicero, the Frolics and Aiuppa. Cicero and the Frolics catered
to the gambling, strip club and brothel trade for many years. The Frolics-Aiuppa
connection is mentioned in dozens of books and articles. ... ..... .. One
1954 Chicago Tribune article is reproduced below; it mentions that Aiuppa
was arrested at the Frolics nightclub in a gambling raid, and that he described
himself as the manager of the club. ... ... .... Also below, from a 1964
Chicago Tribune article, is a picture of a policeman blocking the door of
the Frolics as part of a major police crackdown on gambling and vice in Cicero.
In that article the Tribune reported that "Sheriff Richard B. Ogilvie took
jurisdiction after he charged Cicero police had failed to close gambling
joints and vice dives." The article said that the Frolics at 4811 Cermack
Rd. was operated by Cicero "gambling boss" Joe Aiuppa, and was ordered closed
for not displaying its state liquor license. "Olgilvie said Aiuppa and Sam
[Momo] Giancana, now the top man in the Chicago area crime syndicate, control
gambling and vice operations in Cicero," the article concluded. [Giancana
was Front Boss of the Chicago Mob from 1957 to 1966.] Note the caption under
the picture, identifying the club as the Frolics "lounge." The marque probably
says "All Star Review -- Entertainment." At the right, above the Schlitz
beer sign, the letters "the F" are probably the start of "the Frolics." ...
.... ..... Dave Brown, a researcher on Chicago gambling and a chip collector,
confirms that the chip is from Aiuppa's Frolics and provided me with this
I'd agree that the order card [pictured
below in this auction] looks consistent with it being Aiuppa's place. ...
...... Also the date on the card is consistent with when Frolics was active.
.... ...... Frolics was at 4811-4813 W. Cermak Rd, in Cicero, and was open
at least 1950-1961. It could have been around longer, but for sure it was
open during that time frame. Frolics was also a strip club and handbook [horse-racing
bookie place]. The gambling would have been in a back room or upstairs. If
there was "heat," they had other locations nearby they would move the gambling
to. Aiuppa was arrested at a dice game there in 1954 and claimed to be the
manager. The FBI considered Aiuppa to be the owner of the club, but there
most likely would have been a front man. Gambling in that spot goes back
to the Capone era. In the 1930s it was known as the 4811 Club and the 4813
building was the Minerva restaurant, owned by Fenton Mangan. In 1934 the
Minerva was the site of the Fred Goetz hit. Goetz was one of the St Valentines
Day Massacre shooters.
- Pictured below is the actual order card from the Taylor & Co.
(a well-known gambling/chip supply company, partly owned by Aiuppa and located
in Cicero at 4848 25th St.) that made the chips on their proprietary/exclusive
"T" rim mold clay gambling chips (seen on the chip in this auction). Note
that the card shows that these "chocolate"-colored chips were made and sold
through Taylor, as early as May 8, 1958; the card also shows a sketch of
the exact same "Frolics" monogram and numeral 5 hot-stamp design/logo as
is on the Frolics chip auctioned here. The "T" mold was used for "protected"
chips -- that means that Taylor advertised that once ordered by one customer,
that hot-stamped design could never be used/ordered by someone else on a
T-mold chip. The dates correspond to Aiuppa's Frolics. This order card did
not include the address; but that is consistent with what Gene Trimble told
me -- that the lack of an address would mean that the chips were for a Chicago-area
club and would therefore be picked up in person, thus an address was not
needed. (The Taylor & Co. order card records are on a pdf file, from
which I took a screen shot of the Frolics card and converted it into the
jpeg for this auction. The records in the pdf file are incomplete, but fortunately
the card shown here survived.)
- Provenance: Finally, the person who sold me the chips is a long-time
Chicago-area resident who got the chips from his mother, who worked at the
Frolics as the hostess for the club and picked up the cancelled (holed) chips
there and gave them to her son to play with. He was a 10-year old lad at
the time -- he recalls Aiuppa joshing with him at the club! He related to
me this youthful memory of the place -- "[I] remember the inside of the Frolics
was kind of a scary place .... No plush interior, just a very long Bar with
Strippers behind it, very dark and then there was the back rooms [never got
back there in my youth] in which gambling took place."
MORE ON CICERO: -- The Frolics was in Cicero, which is
a township that borders Chicago. It is a mere mile or two from the heart
of Chicago. For a long time Cicero was known for its "anything goes" sin
city gambling and vices. Al Capone had his headquarters in Cicero. Author
Gary Potter writes, "During 1924 in the aftermath of one of the bloodiest
campaigns in U.S. history, Al Capone's puppet candidate was elected as Mayor
of Cicero, a city which became known as one of the country's most wide open
cities as well as a power-base for Capone." The Frolics "nightclub" was originally
at 5818 26th St. in Cicero. Then it was at the heart of the famous "Strip"
in Cicero -- 4811-4813 Cermak Rd. (22nd St.).
SHORT BIOGRAPHY OF AIUPPA:
Starting about l925 Joseph "Joey Doves"
Aiuppa was linked to and worked with John Dillinger, Alvin Karpis, John Moore
(a/k/a Claude Maddox) and the Al Capone gang. He was a gunman and driver
for Capone, and was given the territory of Cicero to run. Aiuppa gradually
rose up through the ranks to the top of the Outfit, operating several gambling
establishments in Cicero, Illinois. This included book making and underground
casinos with secret entrances. Auippa would become the perennial number two
or three man in the Outfit, working out of the spotlight under leaders such
as Sam "Momo" Giancana or Tony Accardo. In Jason Mulligan's list of bosses,
Aiuppa is listed as "Front Boss" of the Chicago "Outfit" from 1971 to 1986...
.... .... In June 1975, Aiuppa may have participated in the decision to kill
Giancana. Some crime figures claimed that the CIA killed Giancana due to
his role in the failed assassination plots against Cuban President Fidel
Castro. However, there is no evidence to substantiate those theories. The
FBI suspected the Outfit killed Giancana because he refused to share his
offshore gambling profits from Mexico. Other Giancana allies (such as Johnny
Roselli) were killed around the time of Giancana's death. ..... ..... .......
In 1986, Aiuppa was convicted of skimming profits from five Las Vegas casinos
and received 28 years in prison. That was (the caper involving the Argent
Corporation, the Teamster's Pension Fund loan, Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, etc.).
It was rumored that Aiuppa ordered the execution of Tony "The Ant" Spilotro
in March 1986 in retaliation for this sentence. Spilotro had been Aiuppa's
representative in Las Vegas and Aiuppa supposedly blamed him for his skimming
arrest. Spilotro and his brother Michael were found beaten to death and buried
in a cornfield only four miles away from a large property owned by Aiuppa
near Morocco, Indiana. Aiuppa was released from prison at age 89. On February
22, 1997, Joseph Auippa died of natural causes in Las Vegas. In the film
Casino, actor Pasquale Cajano's character, Remo Gaggi, is loosely based on
Aiuppa. The cornfield murders of the Spilotro brothers is also recreated
in this film. ..... ....... .....He died in 1997, age 89. You may read a
short article about Aiuppa here. (I thank John
Binder and David Brown for much of the information in this auction description
and the Chicago Tribune articles cited here.)
CONDITION: very fine, minor use, neatly cancelled by drill
hole. (I don't know of any un-drilled Frolics chips.) The chip is the same
on both sides.
I HAVE BEEN AN AVID POKER CHIP COLLECTOR
FOR MANY YEARS. CHECK MY AUCTIONS REGULARLY.
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see my eBay "ABOUT ME" page to learn more about poker chip collecting.........and
about me! Questions, comments and chatting welcomed. I have a hoard of
chips for sale, so tell me what you would like to see on eBay. Robert.