A token with an interesting history

19 Oct

I met a fellow hunter at McAdams park today for my lunch-time hunt.  I didn’t find any silver today but I did find this really cool token. It was a jumpy tone on the AT Pro with an equally jumpy Target ID. The depth indicated was eight inches. I decided to dig it because it was sitting next to a strong iron signal and I believed there was a chance it could be a coin whose signal was being affected by the iron. The AT Pro was exact on the depth.

I Googled it and this is what I found. The link to the info is here (www.chicagocoinclub.org).

As the Great Depression settled over much of the world, enterprising American mobsters cast their lot in Shanghai and elsewhere as law enforcement in the United States was making gains on organized crime. Asian operating rules tended to be looser and the local citizenry more inclined to turn a blind eye.

One such character entered the scene, assuming the name E.T. (“Jack”) Riley and prepared numerous brass tokens for use in his slot machine game rooms and nightclubs. The author was interested in pursuing a potential family connection but learned Riley was in fact an escaped convict from Oklahoma named Becker. Becker had enlisted in the U.S. Navy under an assumed name and jumped ship when opportunity presented itself in Shanghai. As Riley, he quickly established himself as a gaming boss in the local slot machine trade. The incuse 4th Marine’s Club (sic) tokens (Cunningham CH-10 and CH-20) are considered military by association and are attributed as such, but were actually slot machine tokens with Riley’s E.T.R. initials on the reverse and issued by him in the late 1930’s.


Becker, or Riley, was eventually exposed and arrested in late 1940. He saw trial in Shanghai’s American Court and was deported back to the United States for prosecution.

brass token

Exactly the same size as a U.S. Jefferson nickel

brass token reverse


Thank you for looking!


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