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antiques advice from John Bly

Item No. 53361

This Unique Games Table was designed and custom made in 1907 for Sir Hiram Maxim, at the behest of King Edward VII whose circle of friends included Lord Roslyn, an avid gambler. Roslyn was certain that he had a system at Roulette that would "break the bank" but was prevented from success because, he claimed, all the roulette wheels in English and Continental casinos were fixed. Irritated by this the King asked the American Sir Hiram, author of the book "Monte Carlo: Facts and Fallacies" and inventor of the Maxim Machine Gun, to have this table constructed with a tamper-proof wheel. The table was set up in an apartment in Piccadilly and on September 19th 1908 Lord Roslyn, starting with a stake of £10,000 began to play. Ten days later, having lost all his money, he was obliged to concede defeat and admit that his system was not infallible. There was considerable press coverage of the 'Duel' on both sides of the Atlantic and Arthur Hawkey's book, "The Amazing Hiram Maxim", records the whole contest in great detail. Afterwards the table was installed at Sir Hiram's house in South London, where the King was a frequent visitor and where he often played cards and roulette at it. The table comes with the original 'chips' some bearing Maxim's signature. Also the above mentioned books and other memorabilia. The table was inherited by Maxim's grandson, Colonel Maxim Joubert, d.1980, of whom we have a military portrait photograph. Col. Joubert bequeathed the table to his Doctor with whom it has remained since 1980. There is no question that this table is a unique and romantic piece of Royal gambling history, used and enjoyed by a King of England. As a point of interest:- To illustrate and disprove Lord Roslyn's claims that standard roulette wheels were 'fixed' Maxim fitted a perfectly ordinary wheel to his table, a fact only disclosed to Roslyn after the event! The King's Roulette Table is constructed of the finest mahogany and boxwood timbers and is signed in monogram by the craftsman responsible for the construction. As the manufacturers were sworn to secrecy we can only make an attribution to Messrs Jackson & Graham as the most likely company to have made it, employing gaming specialists to complete the fitments under the watchful eye and personal supervision of Sir Hiram Maxim.

Height: 30 ins (76 cms), Width: 37 ins (94 cms), Depth: 45 ins (114 cms),

Circa 1908

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Five generations