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The Chip Board Archive 22

Illegal Of The Day Maine

As I mentioned in an earlier “Illegal Of The Day” post, there are no Illegal chips in TGT from Maine. I am told this one did not make the new TGT, but will make the next edition. A number of us always hoped to get an Illegal chip from all 50 states. This fills one hole in my 50 states Illegal collection. Still need 3 more states Vermont, Delaware, and N Dakota.

As you will read there was a lot of illegal gambling in Portland. I had no idea they had so much of it. My guess is there are a lot more Illegal Club chips from Maine out there to be found.

Anthony Casale was involved with many different illegal activities including, bootlegging, drunken driving, gambling, armed robbery, hijacking, narcotics, white slavery, and the “Crime of the Century,” the Great Brinks Robbery. He was shot and wounded by the US Coast Guard. I think that’s a first for us in “Illegal Of The Day” posts. vbg

It is totally amazing how many different places in history our quest for the history of our chips have taken us. They run the gambit from The World Series of Baseball to the “Crime of the Century.” vbg That is a pretty good spread.

As you will read, we could not put a 100% sure Club name to the chips. There is a suggestion in the history for Mary’s Café in Portland owned by Casale’s brother. I don’t like it. The logo on the chips suggests the Clover Club or the Shamrock Club. Both have 3 leaves but a 4 leaf clover brings luck to the finder. vbg

Casale is Italian so I rule out Shamrock Club. Not sure what else is possible so in my files I am calling it The Clover Club with an asterisk *.

David Spragg got these off of ebay. They came out of an antique store in Portland, Maine. I feel certain he will be along with spares to sell. Only 2 of the blue $10’s found.

The history was tough and we had to resort to snail mail from the Portland library to finish it off.

Enough of that:


Anthony Casale
68 Franklin St
Portland, ME
500 x $1
200 x $5
100 x $10
100 x $50
100 x $100 (chocolate)

$50 and $100 denominations. We don’t see very many illegals in those denominations.

I need the Chocolate $100. Cough it up if you have a trader.

Enter our “Friend Of The Hobby.”
Email number 1.

Still looking into the Clover over Club chips. I’ve found some stuff on Casale but am still trying to find what club those chips were used at. No evidence of a Clover or Shamrock Club in Portland at the time (may have been outside city limits).The chips were delivered to Casale’s residential address. Portland city directories are no help: from 1946-1950 Casale’s occupation is listed as “laborer”—as good a cover as any I guess.

Email number 2.
I apologize for taking so long to get this info to you. I was waiting for the Portland Library to snail mail me Casale’s obit, which arrived Saturday. Not much in the obit I hadn’t seen already but still interesting. Unfortunately still no solid info on where exactly the chips were used—I’m sure there’s an answer somewhere.

Email number 3.
AHA! At last “The Rest Of The Story.”

Clover with Club
Clover Club?

Anthony J. “Tony” “Little Tony” “Little Chief” Casale was a native of Portland and a son of Italian immigrants from Sicily. At the time of his death at Portland in 1985 at the age of 77 Casale was described as a “prominent member of Portland’s active underworld.”

For decades, starting when a teenager in the 1920’s, Casale was involved in many different money producing illegal activities which often got him in trouble with the law and occasionally landed him in jail.
Like many of the guys who were involved with illegal gambling, Casale was a bootlegger. Casale was involved with illegal liquor as early as 1927 when he was 19 and he continued to work with the stuff long after Federal prohibition was repealed, being convicted in 1940 for operating an illegal distillery in Augusta, Maine (sentenced to 3 years in Federal prison in Atlanta).

Eleven days after Casale’s arrest for operating the illegal distillery he was charged with the theft of $1500 worth of shoes from a Maine Central freight car. While he was serving time in Atlanta on the liquor charge, Casale was also indicted for his involvement in the September 1940 breaking, entering and removal of $1500-1800 worth of cigarettes from a storehouse in Portland. In addition to liquor Casale was involved in with narcotics, being arrested in 1928 for selling morphine to an undercover detective.

Casale was wounded in 1934 when the US Coast Guard opened fire on him and his brothers Samuel and Matthew after they refused to obey commands to pull over their truck load of liquor. In April 1931 Casale was charged with “assault to kill” when he and a buddy shot-up the liquor laden vehicle of a rival bootlegger in an attempt to hijack the guy. Later that year in September, Casale was identified as an accomplice in a botched armed robbery attempt in Boston where the victim was shot in the foot and Casale’s accomplice was shot in the head and died on the spot. Casale, charged with “assault and robbery while armed,” was later arrested in Maine and taken to the Portland Police headquarters:

pics of Casale when in his 20’s and in his 30’s:

By 1946 Casale was out of prison and back in Portland residing at the Casale family home at 68 Franklin. In December 1947 the clover with club chips were delivered to him at the address. Pic of address:

Where the chips were used is still an open question. From 1946-1950 Portland city directories list Casale’s occupation as “laborer.” The directories show no “Clover Club” or “Shamrock Club” (no Italian “Trifoglio Club” either)—not sure what other names to look for.

Casale had a younger brother named Daniel who operated a place called Mary’s Café in downtown Portland at 224 Federal St. Daniel was a known gambler and 10 months after the chip order was arrested for gambling in a club located on Monument Square, just a half block from his café. Daniel’s brother Anthony was not the listed proprietor of the club but I suppose he could have been connected to the place.

Also, a lot of people from Portland gambled in places located outside the Portland city limits so it’s possible that Casale didn’t operate in Portland. Here’s a description of a club from 1951 which sounds like the kind of place those chips may have been used:

My note: This is the type of Club the high denomination chips were used in. Club names were not used in any articles we could find. It reminds me of the early days in Printers Alley Memphis, TN. As we saw in Tennessee 3 on 12/23/11, plenty of Illegal clubs but no Club names.

In the Spring of 1951 the gambling situation in Portland and surrounding Cumberland County became a major issue. Inspired in part by Kefauver, a Cumberland County Grand Jury convened and subpoenaed over 200 men and women, many of whom refused to say anything about what they knew about local gambling. Casale was subpoenaed but got out of town before he could be served. Here’s one person’s testimony:

When the grand jury handed out its indictments Casale had 13 gambling counts charged against him--his brother Daniel was also indicted.

Anthony’s brother Dan leaving court after posting $5,000 bond:

Anthony’s location was still unknown at the time of the indictments. 6june1951:

So where was Casale? When the grand jury began to convene he appears to have gone to Florida with a lady friend he had known since the 1930’s named Lillian Levesque. Lillian operated a cathouse called “Melody Ranch” southeast of Portland in the town of Old Orchard Beach (more about this place below). In February 1952 Casale was in Boston.

Casale was picked-up by Boston Police detectives as part of a round-up of the usual suspects during their investigation of the “Crime of the Century,” the Great Brinks Robbery. After being questioned, Casale was just about to walk out of police headquarters when, unfortunately for Casale, in walked a Cumberland County Deputy Sherriff who happened to be in Boston on an unrelated matter. The deputy recognized Casale, pulled out an old warrant and took Casale back to Portland.

The warrant the deputy used to arrest Casale was not the one for his gambling charges but one for a charge of “transporting a female for immoral purposes.” In January 1951 Casale had driven a 19 year old female from Portland to his friend Lillian Levesque’s Melody Ranch. The19 year old initially claimed that she did not know what Melody Ranch was when taken there and once there that she was held against her will (she spent 10 days there, had sex with 30 men at $10 each).

Casale was found guilty and sentenced to 5-20 years in state prison. Later, the 19 year old changed her story—a story contradicted by many—but it didn’t matter, Casale’s pleas for a new trial and a pardon from the governor were rejected.

By 1959 Casale had served his time and returned to Portland where for several years he operated the ABC Music Company. ABC was a coin operated device company, a type of business quite often associated with organized crime.

My note: There is no doubt in my mind Anthony Casale was a member of an organized crime family. IMO, could have been either Buffalo, NY or Boston, MA families. After all that he and his brother were involved with, his nephew is elected Mayor of Portland. vbg

Here’s Casale’s obit from 1985. At the time of Anthony’s death the Mayor of Portland was his nephew Joseph (son of his brother Daniel).

[Note: the obit says he was sentenced on New Years Eve 1949 to three years on a gambling conviction but I didn’t see any evidence of this]

Messages In This Thread

Illegal Of The Day Maine
Re: Illegal Of The Day Maine
Re: Thanks Lou - "Little Pieces Of Clay."
LOU when you going to be on Pawn Stars again?
Re: LOU when you going to be on Pawn Stars again?
Re: LOU when you going to be on Pawn Stars again?
Re: LOU when you going to be on Pawn Stars again?
Super Article-Thx Gene
I'm trying to do the same thing
Wow! Wow! WOW!
Re: Wow! Wow! WOW!
Thank you Gene grin
Coast Guard & the truck ??
Re: Coast Guard & Chuck Tomarchio
Re: Coast Guard & the truck ??
Interesting history -- Thanks
Re: Coast Guard & the truck ??
They have been some of their...
Another stellar piece of work! Thanks, Gene.

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