Board Remuneration: Why your vintage board games are soaring in value

Board games: early edition Monopoly

For those of a certain vintage, “gaming” has connotations of reaching up into cupboards for dusty boxes bearing names like Monopoly, Mousetrap and Kerplunk. Now, these decades-old board games are soaring in value, according to ParcelHero.

“Sales of new board games have increased by 40 per cent as today’s children fall for the charms of games that don’t rely on staring at screens,” says ParcelHero’s Head of Publications David Jinks. “if you are giving them your old favourites to play with, check what items you actually have before you hand them over.”

Charles Darrow produced the first version of Monopoly in 1933-34 and Jinks reveals that a very early original has just sold for £90,000. “Remember these were mass-produced, but not so many have survived intact,” he says. “Darrow sold the Monopoly patent to Parker Brothers in 1935, and they first sold it widely, introducing the much-loved metal tokens,” continues Jinks. “The key to the value of these early sets – called black box sets by collectors – is down to details as small as the patent wording on the box.”

The first version with London street names (instead of Atlantic City’s) was introduced in the UK in 1936. “Pre-war editions can raise prices up to £1000, depending on condition,” says Jinks. “For many of us, the 1970s and 1980s were the golden age,” he continues.

“Mousetrap sells from £40-£60, early Frustrations for around £100, Mastermind at around £35-£50, with Kerplunk the poorer cousin at £15-£20, he continues. “Remember these were mass produced, but not so many have survived intact. My own favourite, an elaborate game called Haunted House, is also worth a spooky amount: an early 1962 example sold recently for $800.’

A consumer trend to inspire new-product brainstorms, or just an excuse to buy Mastermind for the office? It’s your roll.

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