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Original Unused Gambling Punchboard, Circa 1930s AJAX BOARDS

Original Unused Gambling Punchboard, Circa 1930s


Other works by AJAX BOARDS

Publication: Manufactured by Ajax Boards, n d (ca 1930s), N P

Vintage gambling punchboard that measures approximately 4" x 2 1/2." This punchboard was marketed mostly to an African American market with the punch stick securely sealed under the original label on the verso of the punchboard. Holograph pencil annotation to the distributor company label on the verso notes this board as Serial number 3322. The predecessor to modern-day lottery scratch cards, punchboards originally came into use in the 18th century, created by tavern owners from pieces of wood, with small holes drilled into the wood which contained paper tickets or game pieces. The holes were then covered over by paper or foil, and after purchasing a chance at the punchboard, patrons would puncture one of the hole covers (typically with a nail or in later years, a metal stylus included with the board) and retrieve the ticket. Boards increased in popularity throughout the ensuing decades, hitting a peak in the 1930s in bars and drugstores, before being discouraged and even outright banned in several states after World War II as a result of a national crackdown on gambling. This particular punchboard depicts three African American men, at the top of the front panel, colorfully dressed and shooting craps for money. A fine, well-preserved item.

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