Author Topic: E.T. Riley Shanghai tokens  (Read 12805 times)

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Offline KONDi

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E.T. Riley Shanghai tokens
« on: September 26, 2013, 03:27:41 AM »
Dear Shanghai token collectors,

E.T. Riley are very interesting tokens.
It is no because those are Shanghai tokens used in old Shanghai to slot machines in many bars, restaurants and night clubs. But also because the all slot machines where these tokens were used belong to Riley, who was American gangster in Shanghai. Some night clubs and bars Riley owned by himself, such as: 4th Marine's Club or D.D.'S Cafe. The other place were full of his slot machines were these tokens were used. Riley's Shanghai dream came to an end when he was arrested and sent to prison in the United States in 1941.

There are more or less common E.T.R. 10 cents trade token.

This is list of several only:

4th Marine's Club (2 varieties)
Bolero K N.C.
Abraham's
E.T. Riley
Farrent's
Pop's Place,
Cozy Corner,
Dela Paix,
Vallon Rest't,
King Kong,
D.D.'s cafe (2 varieties)
American Bar,
Domino Cafe,
Jose Bar,
Roseland Bar,
Little Navy Bar,
George's Bar,
Laci Bar,
Mars Cafe,
Manhattan Bar,
Gaiety,
Arcadia,
and others...

Most of denominations have 10 cents value. There is also one 20 cents and one D.D.'s cafe 5 cents (18mm in diameter). All 10 cents has 21mm in diameter and ALL E.T.R. trade tokens are made of brass.
KONDi
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Offline KONDi

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Re: E.T. Riley Shanghai tokens
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2013, 09:27:06 PM »
This is second variety of D.D.'s cafe token :001_smile:
KONDi
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Offline Josey

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Re: E.T. Riley Shanghai tokens
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2013, 10:21:11 PM »
I met a guy once, Jim Andrews, who had some of Shanghai tokens and was really into them.  When I see him again, I have to mention these posts, he would love to read them. 

Offline KONDi

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Re: E.T. Riley Shanghai tokens
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2013, 11:25:12 PM »
Hey Josey,

I know Jim. He is my good friend.
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Offline KONDi

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Re: E.T. Riley Shanghai tokens
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2013, 04:08:36 AM »
Farren's and Barcelona E.T.R. 10 cents trade tokens
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Offline KONDi

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Re: E.T. Riley Shanghai tokens
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2013, 04:10:53 AM »
Here are some information about:

Edward Thomas ‘Jackpot’ Riley, the future ‘Slot Machine King of Shanghai,’ first visited the city in the 1920s, as a sailor on a US Yangtze Patrol sloop, when he drank in the dives along Blood Alley (modern Xikou Lu), “a thoroughfare entirely dedicated to wine, women, song and all-night lechery,” and one famous for its fights.

When he finished his stint in the navy, Riley returned to the US where, under the name of Johnny Becker (which of his AKAs was his actual birth name remains a bit of a mystery), he soon landed himself in Oklahoma State Penitentiary with a 25-year sentence for what has variously been reported as robbery, attempted hijacking or a shoot-out at a casino.

Whatever he was in for, after a few years he was named a trusty and allowed to join the prison baseball team. At the first out of Pen game, Riley decided his teammates could head back to jail without him, taking a train in the opposite direction. Many moons and maritime miles later, he ended up back on the docks of Shanghai.

He soon made himself at home in what an April 1941 Time magazine article described as “the biggest, toughest, richest big-city badlands in the world. Kidnappings, bombings, murders are the small change of its life, and a holdup man can rent a gun from a policeman for $2.50. This Shanghai has its own polyglot dynasty of gangsters, gamblers, pimps, racketeers.”

Jack Riley was to become one of its Mr. Bigs. Having arrived in the city in just overalls and a pair of broken shoes, he first landed a job as bouncer at a cabaret, the Venus Club. If legend is to be believed, he then used his adept handling of dice in the penny ante crap shooting along the Bund to accumulate the stake for a real game, in which he won the Manhattan Bar in the French Concession, while others say he simply used his Venus earnings to purchase a stake in it (we choose to believe the former).

With his earnings from Manhattan Bar he began buying slot machines, and he soon had them all over town – even the US Marines Club paid its rent and the lion’s share of its expenses with the kickback from Riley’s slots. It made him a rich man – around 80 percent of the money that went into the machines never came out, and Riley got most of it.

He branched out too, banking his own crap table at Austrian Joe Farren’s big casino in the badlands, and holding a share in the joint. “Shanghai had not had an open roulette game since 1927,” reported Time, “and the taipans and their wives and ladies jostled puppet government officials and their concubines in their eagerness to drop their money on Riley’s tables.”

In the money, Riley played out the life of a big-shot movie gangster, draping his lanky frame in the best clothes money could buy and living in a swank apartment house. However, “almost unique among Shanghai criminals, he never smoked, drank or doped,” said Time. “He built himself a reputation for great openhandedness, particularly to women. According to legend, he paid off one girlfriend with $25,000 in Shanghai Power Co. shares.”

He also bought a chain of restaurants which he called DD’s. Although ostensibly respectable, the pretty Russian waitresses would go home with any customer who had spent enough money. Riley was also responsible for the termination of bandleader Buck Clayton’s contract at the Canidrome Ballroom, after a fight on the dance floor. “Some say Riley did not like Clayton’s smile, others that Clayton asked Riley to tone down. Anyway blows were struck and Buck Clayton fell,” reported a newspaper of the day. You get the impression Riley wasn’t someone you wrote bad of, as the article continues:

“Later Riley returned. No, he did not bring a gang with him. He came back with his hands in his pockets grumbling about some papers he had lost. He said nothing of the fight, perhaps because Mr. Riley is a hardy and courageous guy. We remember Mr. Riley as an outstanding fighter in the Shanghai Volunteer Corps amateur bouts of a few years ago. He was plenty good, tough and game.”

Relations between Riley and Farren eventually soured, if the speculation in Andrew Field’s Shanghai’s Dancing World: Cabaret Culture and Urban Politics, 1919-1954 is to be believed. According to Field, Riley had threatened Farren to reduce his operations, as they were taking business away from his own interests. When the warning was ignored he decided to send a stronger message:

“At around midnight on February 16, 1941, a group of men believed to be Koreans entered Farren’s and shot up the joint. They split into two groups, one stayed in the ballroom and the second headed upstairs to the roulette room. Once positioned they fired shots into the air. As an Austrian watchman named Walter Lunzer lunged to grapple with them, they shot him. A bullet also hit and killed a Miss Daisy Simmons, a British subject.”

Riley had other nemeses – the Shanghai Municipal Council issued a formal complaint against him in a letter to the US Consul General. They determined he was violating laws against gambling that governed Americans living in China and in November 1940 he was arrested. When the police booked him, however, they discovered his fingerprints had been partially obliterated by acid, and suspicious authorities posted the highest bail ever set in Shanghai – US$25,000. Riley had the money deposited in the clerk’s hands within 48 hours of being locked up, and every slot machine in town suddenly disappeared.

Riley’s attorneys then disclaimed US citizenship for their client, who had no passport. Meanwhile, district attorney Charles Richardson, Jr. had the seared fingerprints sent to the FBI, who discovered he was wanted under the name Becker. According to Frederic E. Wakeman in The Shanghai Badlands: Wartime Terrorism and Urban Crime, 1937-1941, “When Riley confidently sauntered into the courtroom on December 4 he was stunned by Richardson’s dramatic presentation of proof of his US citizenship. Just before the court recessed for tiffin [tea], Riley left the courtroom and never returned, forfeiting the US$25,000 bond.”

In hiding with good friends, Riley managed a couple of months at large, but as word spread that – in partnership with Japanese and Korean gangsters – he was behind a new casino set to open on the corner of Great Western and Edinburgh Roads (modern Yan’an Xi Lu and Jiangsu Lu), the net closed in on him. At the end of March 1941, the Japanese joined with the Shanghai Municipal Police to raid his hideout.

This time there was no bail and the trial was short. His sentence was light enough, only 18 months, but Shanghai remembered the Oklahoma jailbreak and this time it was a maximum security US Federal Penitentiary prison he was on his way to. He was not to see Shanghai again.

source: http://www.thatsmags.com/shanghai/articles/506
KONDi
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Offline KONDi

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Re: E.T. Riley Shanghai tokens
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2013, 04:42:10 AM »
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 05:15:57 AM by KONDi »
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Offline KONDi

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Re: E.T. Riley Shanghai tokens
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2013, 04:58:18 AM »
Here are some more information about Jack Riley which I found here:

http://www.thatsmags.com/shanghai/articles/13805

Shanghai had become infamous in the 1930s as a gangster town – Big Eared Du, Pockmarked Huang, the Green Gang, the Red Gang – but foreigners had their own gangs too. The most notorious was collectively known as ‘the Friends of Riley’ – Jack Riley to be precise, who’d escaped from Oklahoma State Penitentiary, burnt his fingerprints off with acid and become immensely wealthy through controlling the slot-machine racket in Shanghai.
 
Riley’s gang was one among many – Jewish, Portuguese, White Russian, even gypsy – that worked the city’s western fringes around what is now Huashan Lu, an area that became notorious as the lightly policed ‘Shanghai Badlands’ after 1937. The foreign gangs warred among themselves constantly. To this day, nobody knows who went over to the Red Rose Cabaret on Hongkou’s infamous Jukong Alley (now Zhongxing Lu), clubbed the Romanian Jewish manager Sammy Wiengarten on the head and then set fire to the place. The police got nowhere – the gangs weren’t talking.
 
Jack ‘Slots King of Shanghai’ Riley was really the last of the big-time bad foreigners in China. In 1941, he went to war with a former-partner-turned-rival, Viennese nightclub and casino owner Joe Farren, and shot up Farren’s place in the Badlands, killing a doorman and several innocent gamblers. An act of violence too far – Riley was hunted down and sent back to America into the waiting arms of the same Oklahoma State Pen he’d checked out of rather too swiftly 15 years before.
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Offline KONDi

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Re: E.T. Riley Shanghai tokens
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2013, 05:14:06 AM »
Those of you who like gangster stories I would like to recommend this book:

"Old Shanghai: Gangsters in Paradise" by Lynn Pan.
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Offline pandamonium

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Re: E.T. Riley Shanghai tokens
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2013, 10:46:12 AM »
Now that is some interesting history......

Offline KONDi

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Re: E.T. Riley Shanghai tokens
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2013, 03:36:47 AM »
Sometimes it is very hard to get some information about a company or a person who issued each token and some history hidden behind, but I am trying my best:)
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Offline KONDi

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Re: E.T. Riley Shanghai tokens
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2013, 03:47:58 AM »
Except 4th Marine's Club and D.D.'S Cafe, Riley also owned Manhattan Bar and as a collaborator of Joe Farren, he put also his slot machine also in this place.
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Offline KONDi

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Re: E.T. Riley Shanghai tokens
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2013, 09:40:10 PM »
Here you can see another E.T.R. old Shanghai token from Domino Cafe.
No one really knows how many E.T.R. tokens exist...
That's why collecting old Shanghai tokens is so exciting! :001_wub: :001_rolleyes:
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Offline KONDi

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Re: E.T. Riley Shanghai tokens
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2013, 05:48:16 AM »
This GAIETY is another token from E.T.R. series.
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Offline KONDi

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Re: E.T. Riley Shanghai tokens
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2013, 04:06:58 AM »
Those 2 are another tokens from E.T.R. series. One is Ala Rotunda 10c Trade E.T.R. and the other one is Vallon Rest't 10c Trade E.T.R.
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