Vintage Carnival Wheels



2015-06-26 10:31:26

Vintage Carnival Wheels are spinning wheels used in games of chance.

History and Description

Carnival wheels have been used in games of chance since the first design was used for the game of Roulette in 18th century France. The wheels used in Roulette were given a particular sequence of colours and laid horizontally on a table.

By the 19th century wheels based on the same design were being used to decide the winners in raffles and prize-draws. These wheels did not follow the colour sequences used in casinos. The most striking visible difference is that carnival wheels (as opposed to Casino Wheels) are usually posed in the upright position, so that many participants can see the result of spinning the wheel.

Many of them are held to be fine examples of folk art, particularly in America, where they became highly decorated.

Guide For Collectors

The earliest versions were devised from a wheel including spokes, with numbers painted around the wheel-rim. These are not generally as colourful, but are more rare, as they were usually hand-made to be used in small, rural communities, and were often owned by the community.

When these wheels were discarded for more sophisticated models, they were sometimes left in storage. They may be found in house-clearance sales. More recent purpose built models are brightly coloured, and the numbers are larger, so as to be seen in larger venues.

Typically, these are bigger than the early handmade models, and have been used until recent decades. As a focal point of carnivals, wheels may be customised with colours and designs significant to the community in which they were used.


In November 2008 a Vintage Amusement Carnival spinning wheel was sold by Rose Hill Auction Gallery for $125.

In November 2009 a Vintage Carnival Gaming Wheel was sold by B.S. Slosberg, Inc. Auctioneers for $30.

In July 2006 a Vintage Carnival Wheel of Fortune was sold by World of Decor for $450.

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