Long before the advent of Facebook or the irresistible draw of an Xbox, we, the children of a simpler time, spent many an hour playing our favorite board games.
Upon completion of the game, Mom would always caution us to “make sure we got all the pieces put back in the box.” A warning not always heeded, and many a red plastic Monopoly motel met its demise from the suction of a Hoover!
Perhaps we would have taken her warning more seriously if we had known that our “Truth or Consequences” game would one day bring $120 at auction, or that serious collectors would consider our “Gilligan’s Island” game a good deal at $200!
Board games have been commercially produced in the US since 1822. However, these very early games seldom surface. Examples that can be found, by the diligent. include 1840s games from the W and B Ives Company, 1860s games from Milton Bradley and Mcloughlin Brothers, and games produced by Parker Brothers from the 1880s.
Most all games from the 19th century are highly prized by collectors, due in large part to their incredible color lithography. McLoughlin and Bliss are collected for their rarity, with some examples bringing upwards of $10,000 at auction.
But don’t despair. If you were thinking of starting a collection, there are hundreds of 20th century games out there that fall into a more moderate price range. Referred to as “modern” games (1940-1970) they will fall into two categories: television based games and pre-television games.
Television-based games were modeled after a multitude of children’s programming. Roy Rogers, Hop-along Cassidy, The Partridge Family, G.I.Joe, Our Gang and King Kong are favorites with collectors. Shows that leaned more to an adult audience also had accompanying games. Names you may remember include Ben Casey, Charlie’s Angels, and Laverne and Shirley.