The Sylcree Club and associated illegal gaming chips
The 12 different chips shown came from a single estate sale in Georgia and subsequent research has shown them all to be associated. The total number of chips found was as follows (although a number were broken or badly damaged and most are quite poor). Not surprising as many were in use for around 13 years.
Sylcree 50c - 30, $20 - 6, brown - 38, black - 139, beige -
SC red - 47, green - 16
S beige - 19
RWW yellow - 39, red - 44
BG gold h/s - 11, blue h/s - 19
History and identification is provided below the scans.
The Sylcree Club was located at Five Points, on the Dougherty-Worth county line halfway between Albany and Sylvester, Georgia. The Southern Belle Lounge was close by. 'RWW' had a piece of the action in both places at least. The 'SC' chips are from the Sylcree and the 'S' from Southern Belle. Seems like RWW was a real player in this bustling area and his monogrammed chips could well have been used wherever he had a piece of the action. This article, by Vic Smith, an Albany resident for 27 years from the 1950's to 1970's describes some of the illegal clubs operating in the area around 1958. (The text of the article is reproduced at the bottom of the page in case this link gets deleted by the newspaper in the future)
Fortunately, this article was only written during the summer of 2005, and through 'Poke McHenry' of The Standard, I was able to get in touch with Vic and obtain confirmation of the use of the 'SC', 'S', and 'RWW' chips. Here is Vic's reply via Mr McHenry:
I emailed your scan via Vic's son and he just called me up. As far as he can say, the two 'SC' chips were from the Sylcree chips. He thinks these were mainly confiscated in a sheriff's raid. It would have been around 1958. The other Sylcree chips were used when they reopened shortly afterwards. He still has a few chips lying around from his Albany days and is going to attempt to find them one day and bring to me so I can send you a picture. He thought there were more different ones than you showed.
He says your 'S' chip is from the Southern Belle Club almost next door.
Vic was surprised you found this article and not an older one where he described his Friendship with RWW Grydski, Grodski (or similar), the local operator of the two Five Point joints and more.
He was unaware of RWW (as he was known) having any chips made for himself but as private games often took place at his house it was possible. Vic said the stakes were too high for him to participate. RWW passed some 12 months ago with no living kin stateside.
The chips marked 'BG' mean nothing to him.
Vic suggests if you need detailed research you would have to contact local libraries and go through old newsprint if they have it as he cant really remember much more now. Club 'busts' always made the headlines, usually when a new Sheriff hit town
Vic hopes you liked his article and now have some useful information.
He has chips he kept from other clubs in the Albany area which I will try to get info/pictures on but he stresses they are not for sale so don't ask!
Glad to be of help
The (remaining) BG chips are confirmed from the Taylor records as follows:
BG is 'Barcus & Graham', seemingly partners who operated two (at least) illegal clubs in Georgia and South Carolina.
1000 white chips w/gold monogram & 1003 w/blue monogram (different styles) were shipped to Jesse Barcus, Briggs Hotel, Wilson, NC on 6/20/47 and 8/14/47 respectively. On 6/14/47, other colors had been shipped to Don Graham, 604 Jefferson St, Albany, GA
Jefferson St seems to be right in the 'middle of the action' as reported by Vic Smith (albeit many years earlier) and it could even be that these chips became part of RWW's 'empire' at a later time. As yet, no records or chips have been reported from any of the other establishments Mr Smith referred to, but who knows what the future may uncover?
(Copy of the text in Vic Smith's article in The Standard, September 15, 2005)