Antique and vintage board, card, and chess games are prized for their high quality art and craftsmanship.
In the days before television, families would often gather of an evening to play board or card games. Kids and collectors still love games, and there is a wide variety of playthings from which to choose.
Chess has been played for centuries, and chess sets have been created in an almost unlimited range of styles and materials, from a plastic and cardboard Simpsons set from the 21st century to luxurious sets for the very wealthy created of ivory, mahogany, brass and marble. Popular English chess sets made by John Jaques & Son were made from 1849 – 1939, and are referred to as Staunton sets because they were endorsed by Howard Staunton, a chess celebrity.
Vintage Card Games
Thanks to high quality and pleasing graphics, collectors love vintage card games like Famous Five, Happy Families and Snap. Top dollar goes to sets in good to excellent condition in original boxes with instructions.
Monopoly Board Games
Monopoly is the most widely played and sold board game of all times. Because of the ubiquitous nature of this game, it is probably the least collectible in terms of value. Even the oldest sets do not command high prices. Newer sets bring even less, except for some of the “special collector editions” which almost always bring less than the original retail price.
TV Movie & Character Games
Character, and TV and movie tie-ins are very collectible, especially for the most popular TV shows and movies. These included 1950s Nancy Drew games, Twiggy Game by Milton Bradley and 1960s James Bond Thunderball. Early Star Wars games are highly collectible, as are early Disney games, as the rules of cross-over appeal apply to game collectors particularly. Newer and more common games such as the Mad Magazine Game and cartoon character games from the 60s and 70s typically are less valuable.
Vintage and Antique Board Games
McLoughlin games from the 1870s to 1910s like District Messenger Boy, Steeple Chasing and Magnetic Fish Pond are collected for their high quality lithography and handsome graphics. Collectors love games with tin game boards and playing pieces. Games with Bakelite pieces, even if they are incomplete, always have value, as collectors buy mah jongg tiles, poker chips, backgammon pieces, dominoes, etc. for jewelry making.
Games, especially antique and vintage examples aren’t just for kids. Collectors enjoy their high quality lithography and eye catching artwork, and are willing to pay real money for the pleasure of owning fine examples of these appealing playthings.
-by p4A Contributing Editor Susan Cramer.
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