Vintage Toys: Collectible Antique Board Games

Collecting antique board games from Milton Bradley, Parker Brothers, Cadaco, Thayer S.O.,based on television shows and the era before TV.

Collecting antique board games is a fun and challenging craft. A craft, you ask? Yes, as finding a game is only half the challenge. Finding a game in its original box, manuals included and all playing pieces intact is the other half. Board and box condition is also a major factor in how successful a find you have unearthed. The fun is how that "˜specific' game can make you feel like you have stepped back through time to your own childhood, or even your parent's or grandparent's childhood.

Finding antique board games in good condition can be a challenge. Games from times past were played on an almost daily basis. Before television and computers became such a central part of our lives, evenings were commonly spent around game tables. Game pieces were lost, boards took abuse, and boxes damaged. If not during there heyday, then in the years that followed when they were relegated to the back of a closet or dumped in someone's attic or musty basement.


Once you have made a great discovery, don't hide it away all over again. Display it! "˜Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer's' board game (1977), from Cadaco, complete with colorful box and spinner, will look perfectly at home beneath the Christmas tree before Santa delivers his goodies. Games from even earlier times will often require a bit more care, but can still be displayed with a bit of thought to preserving their fragile and hard to acquire contents. Coffee tables that are glass over a shadowbox area are an excellent way to show off that "˜Annie Oakley' board game put out by Milton Bradley in the 1950's, or "˜Buck Rogers', circa 1934 that was not only a colorful box, but also home to three boards. And alongside an old version of Pin the tail on the Donkey, you could display a Parker Brothers, circa 1939, "˜Pin the Nose on Pinocchio'.

Television Based Games:

If you had a favorite television program from the past, chances are that there was a game made to go along with the hoopla surrounding the show. Some shows that had a corresponding game include; "˜Ben Casey, M.D.' , "˜All in the Family', "˜Addams Family', "˜Charlie's Angels', "˜Our Gang', "˜Laverne and Shirley', "˜G.I. Joe', and "˜King Kong'. This is only a sampling of names. If you had a favorite, a good way to find out if there was a game to go with it is to do a simple online search for the name of the show along with the words "˜board game'. One other fun aspect of collecting a board game central to a television show is that there is often other collectibles associated with the show to tie in with the games.

A flier from Milton Bradley circa 1950 highlights other board games besides television tie-ins. "˜Go to the Head of the Class', a quiz style game, "˜Pirate and Traveler', whose board was a striking map, and the classic board game "˜Candy Land', are all included. And for everyone that wanted to be a "˜Sunday' Congressman there was the classic political game "˜Lobby'.


Even before television shows, there were board games. Many of these were based on other favorite pastimes, such as baseball, travel, and books. Milton Bradley had a classic example circa the early 1900's titled "˜Baseball and Checkers', and by 1926, Parker Brothers had put out "˜Double game Board, Football, Baseball, and Checkers'. Thayer, S.O. had a unique game for the literary crowd, titled "˜The Game of Authors and Their Books'. And for those that wanted an assortment of games but had limited funds, Milton Bradley had the "˜Junior Combination Board', that had twelve games in one colorfully illustrated box from the early 1900's including "˜Fortune Telling', "˜Checkers', "˜Yacht Race', "˜Steeplechase', and more.

Finding Games:

Board games can be found just about anywhere typical antiques and collectibles can be: Flea markets, antique fairs, auctions, rummage and yard sales, online venues such as Ebay, and second hand shops. Do not overlook your own attics and storage places. When parent's would clean out toys that they felt their children had outgrown, board games were often held onto, as the mindset was often that games would be played with even by older kids and adults.

If you are looking for a collectible that is fun, displayable, and often times a "˜blast from the past', board games can fill just that ticket!

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