ca. 1870
.75 in|.75 in WIDE
(1.90 cm|1.90 cm WIDE)
Gift of Donald Graeme

Early California Art and History, Science Special Gallery, December 2007 - September 2009

5 bone dice. ca. 1870 from old California saloon From the History Information Station: Gambling was a popular pastime, or passion, among miners. Mining itself was something of a gamble, and if you could hope to double your money at the dice table, why not try? These handsome dice were carefullly cut from animal bone; then ink was put into the holes on each side. "Double yer money, gents!" Mining itself was something of a gamble in which a man's wealth seemed due as much to luck as to skill or hard work. And many men willing to gamble on mining were more than willing to gamble their hard-earned gold on the faro deck or the speed of the monte dealer's hand. William Swain, a miner who deplored the lax morals of his compatriots, wrote that, "It is not unusual to see hundreds of dollars staked on the turning of a single card." In Sacramento, "There are a great number of dealers in produce, but more dealers of monte. The taverns have usually...three or four tables and a man behind dealing monte, at all hours from breakfast to midnight." Bayard Taylor, who toured California as a correspondent for the New York "Tribune," said that "where there is gold there are gamblers. Our little village boasted of a least a dozen monte tables."

Used: saloon ~ California

Bookmark and Share