While vintage board games are considered to be valuable, not all of them are worth much money. You might have been shocked when you were offered next to nothing for a collection of old board games that you thought will get you some substantial amount of money.
Although brands and titles from Milton Bradley and 3M Games (among others) are important, they are not everything. There are a lot of things that are considered before the offers we see and hear about are made. Things such as whether the board game is in good condition, how rare the board game is, and for how much it was sold at its initial release.
In this article, we will consider what vintage board games are worth a good amount of money.
Factors That Determine The Worth Of Old Board Games
Before we move to our list of valuable old board games and what they are worth, let us look at some of the things that are considered when valuing a game.
i. The Age Of The Game
One factor that influences the worth of a game is when the game was created and published.
Many very old games dating back to the early 1900s are usually worth a bit more money than more recent games, despite the popularity of the newer ones.
Classic examples of more recent, popular classics are Monopoly and Scrabble, which date to the 1930s.
ii. Rarity Of The Game
In addition to how old a game is, the rarity of the game also comes into play. Generally, the rarer a game, the greater its worth.
Still using our previous examples of Monopoly and Scrabble, you will agree that these two games are very readily available in just about every game store.
A game that is not as common as them, say, Milton Bradley’s Dark Tower, a game from the 1980s, is valued for much more than the two of them combined.
Sometimes, board games that are relatively new can be worth so much more for the single reason that they are rare. A classic example is the game Agent of Change, which was published as a special edition in 1991.
The game was published only for a specific exhibition held at the Huntington Museum of Art in West Virginia. No wonder collectors thought it was worth $400 some years ago.
iii. The Initial Cost Of The Game
The initial cost of a game plays a role in its retail price. Limited edition or deluxe games generally cost more in production than the regular game versions.
A board game like War of the Ring Collector’s Edition sells for an incredibly high price now majorly because it is a deluxe game that was made in limited numbers and initially retailed for $400.
You surely cannot be surprised at how highly valued the Swarovski Scrabble is. The simple reason is that it is a crystal-encrusted Scrabble board. Crystals are expensive.
iv. The Condition Of The Game
A game in good or mint condition will typically sell for more than a game that is in poor condition or has missing pieces.
While it is possible to purchase game pieces separately to complete a game set, it is often pretty expensive to do so.
iv. The Location In Which The Game Is Being Sold
Ambiance is everything. A classic game in good condition can be ignored on generic auction sites, but cost so much money on the right website.
Classic board games that have cult followers can be worth a great deal at the right game con than at a thrift store. The location can make all the difference as to how much vintage board game; Fireball Island by Milton Bradley is sold for.
Old Board Games That Are Worth Money
We will now move straight to take a look at some of these highly valued old games and what they are estimated at.
1. Risk: 40th Anniversary Edition – Over $300
Risk: 40th Anniversary Edition was published in 1997 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original Risk game from Parker Brothers.
This edition features a redesigned world map, with each game board bearing a unique number that denotes the limited status of each set.
There are battle dice, each of which is new and different. Also, the armies here are not the regular plastic ones that come with the standard release, these ones happen to be die-cast miniatures. Also, each set carries a certificate of authenticity.
2. Boris Karloff’s Monster Game – About $500
Boris Karloff’s Monster Game, whose estimate has been put at about $500, was released by Game Gems in 1965.
It is a simple spin-and-move board game whose objective is to guide the player through a haunted house so that you make it out on the other side safely.
In your move to get out safely, you will encounter various monsters that you need to get past.
While the game is very basic, it is very desirable for the fans of the famous horror actor, Boris Karloff. The game even comes with four replicas of the actor in various colors.
3. Star Wars: The Queen’s Gambit – About $1,000
Star Wars: The Queen Gambit was released in 2001, a year before The Phantom Menace — the movie the board game focuses on — hit the big screens.
It is a strategy game involving battles. The game includes a huge board, 55 individual pieces, 180 cards, 16 dice, and a massive 3D Theed Palace.
Although it was originally released for $100, over the years, the price has skyrocketed, and now, it goes for about a thousand dollars in stores.
Anyway, this will be a great addition to your board games collection if you are a die-hard Star Wars fan.
4. War Of The Rings Collector’s Edition – Over $1,500
War of The Rings Collector’s Edition was first released in 2000 and, just like the first edition of the game, this one focuses on the Lord of the Rings series.
So, it is no surprise that it is a strategic board game with a war theme in a fantasy setting that has one player taking control of the Free Peoples, while another player taking control of the Shadow Armies.
This all-in-one version of the board game is worth its high price because only a limited number of about 2,000 units was released. When you search for this game online, you will find it very few buying options on BoardGameGeek offering the board game for about $1500.
5. Swift Meats League Baseball Game – Over $2,500
This vintage board game by Swift Meats was released in 1957. From the game’s name — and that of the creator — you can tell that it a baseball-themed game. With this, you get to play baseball without having to leave your couch or look at an electronic screen.
As originally issued, the game’s set is presented on three uncut perforated sheets of six cards each. The cards are then meant to be punched out and assembled to create paper models of the players. The board game was last known to be sold at Robert Edward Auctions for $2,644 some years ago.
6. Geoffrey Parker Trivial Pursuit – Between $3,000 & $6,500
World-famous manufacturer of luxury, high-end games, Geoffrey Parker, offers the Dauphin calf leather-bound Trivial Pursuit set at a price ranging from a little over $3,000 to a little under $6,500.
This board game set can be purchased directly from Geoffrey Parker. The game, Trivial Pursuit was originally created in 1979. It tests the players who can be between two and six in number on their ability to answer questions based on basic knowledge and pop culture.
With this particular version from Geoffrey Parker, you can have your initials or a personal message hand-embossed onto the board. The range in the price is due to the various options available, such as customization, and emboss materials of gold or silver.
7. Geoffrey Parker Clue – Between $5,300 & $7,500
Still another phenomenal release from world-famous luxury games manufacturer, Geoffrey Parker, this leather-bound classic murder mystery board game, Clue® comes at a price ranging from a little under $5,266 to a little over $7,500.
All the colors are made from a separate piece of leather, and every room name, as well as each starting position, is silver-embossed.
Each playing piece is a reproduction from the original 1960s cards in pewter each with an enamel base. With this board game set, you will have the very finest quality worth every dime you pay.
8. Kiseido Imports Go Set – About $13,000
The traditional ancient Chinese board game of Go dates back to the Zhou dynasty — which is more than 2,500 years old — and is priced at about $13,000.
This game is played on a board with a leg. The Kiseido Imports version game board is made of masame wood. The game also consists of a pair of mulberry Go bowls priced at $1000 needed to hold Yuki-grade shells and slate stones worth $1950.
9. Swarovski Diamond Scrabble – $20,000
There is hardly anyone who is not familiar with the word game of Scrabble which was created in 1938. This exclusive version made by Swarovski comes with a board dazzling with 30,000 crystals. The version was created to celebrate the Diamond Anniversary of the game of Scrabble.
The game board has been redesigned to keep the tiles in place. The board game also includes a set of glass SCRABBLE tiles (each of which is encrusted with crystals), four tile holders (each made of glass), as well as a tile box (also made of glass), and finally, a display case.
It was auctioned and sold off on eBay for $20,000, and the proceeds from the sale went to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
11. Outrage! Deluxe Edition – $22,415
Holding the Guinness World Record for Most Expensive Board Game in the World, the Outrage! Deluxe Edition board game can be purchased at the official Inspired Treasures website for $22,415 dollars, excluding shipping fee from the United Kingdom.
Outrage! was first created in 1992 by Imperial Games. In the game which accommodates six players, the players move around the board which depicts the Tower of London, all in a bid to steal the British Crown Jewels.
Outrage! Deluxe comes with crown jewels that are fashioned in solid gold and studded with sapphires and rubies. With quality like that, you can say that the price is totally justified.
12. The Landlord’s Game First Edition – About $50,000
The Landlord’s Game was designed by Lizzie Magie to educate users about Georgism, and was published in 1906 by Parker Brothers. The game was the inspiration for the board game Monopoly.
Finding this first edition can be an extremely hard task. There are few listings of other early versions, but not the first.
If you, however, insist to only settle for Landlord’s Game First Edition, ensure that you have enough money kept aside for the acquisition, as the board game has been estimated to be worth $50,000.
13. Charles Darrow 1933 Handmade Monopoly Set – About $150,000
The game of Monopoly was created by Charles Darrow, although it bears some resemblance to The Landlord Game we just discussed.
The first board game was modeled on the streets and houses around Darrow’s house in Atlantic City, New Jersey. No wonder the board game is sometimes referred to as Monopoly Atlantic City.
At first, on his own, Darrow made 500 copies of the original game, which he sold off. Then in 1935, Parker Brothers bought the board game from Charles Darrow and moved to popularize the game.
The whereabouts of the earliest copies of the board game are almost unknown, save for one which was sold at an auction in 2011.
In case you decide to search for a copy, unlike the recent versions of the board game, the original handmade copies by Charles Darrow are circular.
Almost all the game boards on this list have some form of ritz and glamour associated with them, this handmade monopoly set simply constitutes an oilcloth with hand-sketched images, and over 200 individual pieces. These include playing cards, playing pieces, and rule sheets.
For something so simple, it was purchased for an impressive sum of $146,500.
14. Jewel Royal Chess Set – $9.8 Million
You probably love a good game of chess and will do anything to get a premium collection of classic chess sets. Well, will you be willing to part with a whopping $9.8 million to get the Jewel Royal Chess Set?
We guess a lot of chess enthusiasts will be willing to part that much if they are able to earn much more money. So, what makes this chess set special?
This chess set was manufactured from solid gold and platinum by Boodles, the jewelry company, in 2002. In addition to the gold and platinum, it also features 748 diamonds, 73 rubies, 146 sapphires, and black and white pearls.
This is doubly a board game about royalty. Its price makes the Jewel Royal Chess Set the rarest as well as the costliest board game in history.
Now, you know the factors that are considered when determining the worth of old board games, and we have shown you some of the most invaluable one.
So, it is now time for you to hunt for these treasures. You never know what a thorough search through the things in the attic and basement may produce.
Just before you head out with your treasure, be sure it is in good condition. One round of playing the board game won’t hurt.