In July, we shared tips to help you spot valuable vintage board games in your online auction search on StorageTreasures.com. You can find that article here.
This month, we will share some examples of popular board games that should fetch you a high price on the resale market these days. Board games have been around since the late 1600s. They have become much more sophisticated in recent generations, but they have been a favorite way to pass the time for thousands of years. While you probably won’t find an original board game from Ancient Mesopotamia in a storage unit, there are games from recent centuries that you might be able to pick up at a storage auction.
Dark Tower, produced in 1981, was very futuristic for its time. A fantasy game where players need to get the magic wand from the evil king and then defeat him, Dark Tower also came with a small battery-powered computer to track players’ scores. Dark Tower sold for $125 in 1981, so it was tough for most households to afford such a luxury. As a result, the game is scarce. Not only did the game cost a lot to buy, but it also cost a lot to make and advertise. Orson Wells, the famous actor, and director, promoted the game in TV ads. Dark Tower has sold on eBay for $300-$400.
Lost in Space 3D Action Fun Game
Based on the TV show of the same name, this game of luck was made in 1966 by Remco. Players travel all over the wild planet of LOST IN SPACE. Your goal is to travel all three levels to reach Earth and identify as many planets as possible before your ship runs out of gas. Remco published Lost in Space in 1966 during the height of the space race between the United States and Russia and was wildly popular with youngsters. However, it is very intricate with multiple levels and many small pieces, so it is hard to find a complete set of this game. Dark Tower previously sold for approximately $700.
The Elvis Pressley Game
In Part 1 of this StorageTreasures blog series, we learned that some genres of board games are more popular than others, and one of those genres was famous people or characters. The Elvis Presley board game came out at the height of Elvis’ popularity when he worked on the movie, Loving You. Elvis also purchased his family home, Graceland, the same year, 1955.
Much like Elvis’ ability to make ladies swoon, this game is an early variation of a dating game. Teams of boys and girls race through the stages of life such as “let’s go steady” and “go get the preacher.” To get to the various stages of life, players must answer questions or sometimes get a punishment, like “walk like Marilyn Monroe.” The game sells on eBay for around $430.
“Buy, Sell, and Trade Your Way to $1 Million.” This game, published in 1974, was not only meant for entertainment but also to teach people how proposed “share-your-wealth plans would increase taxes and place a heavy burden on all citizens.” In the game, successful players gain dominating positions in the economic affairs of the country. The government makes every man a king, and from there, he must take care of himself and manage his affairs to beat inflation. While this game sounds challenging to learn and play, the difficulty is a feature collectors find desirable.
The United States was in a recession from 1973-1975, and the Federal Reserve was trying to stop inflation after a Wall Street crash. Thus, another timely game for current events in our country. The game has many pieces with a similar setup as Monopoly, and it isn’t easy to find a complete set. Interested collectors can find The Inflation Game on eBay for around $1,000.
One of the newer games on our list, Keywood is a settler’s game created in 1995. The original publisher made only 200 copies. The original version of this game had a thin, paper-like board game in black and white. Players have colored tiles and pieces they can use to build their villages. After building villages, leaders emerge to make decisions about taxes, licenses, and markets. The Keywood pieces have intricate designs, and with only 200 ever made, a complete set of this game is valuable, selling for up to $1,200.
Dr. Mario includes popular Nintendo characters like Mario and Luigi. The goal is to find the correct color “viruses” and remove them from the board without getting a buzzer. The game is very similar in fashion to the game Operation. It isn’t easy to find any information about this game, much less find the game itself. Nintendo released versions of this game for their consoles and the Game Boy. It is possible Nintendo did not produce many versions of the board game because consumers preferred the digital versions. This version of the game has sold at auction for up to $1,500.
Swift Meats Major League Baseball Game
This game is one of the most exciting valuable vintage board games on the list. A meat company, Swift Meats, now known as Swift & Company, is headquartered in Greeley, CO. In 1957, they had the idea to issue a free kids baseball game with meat orders. People found individual cards in Swift Meats Hot Dogs packages, or a complete set was available through the mail. The game ha has 18 players and a game board, including Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, and Ritchie Ashburn. The players came in the form of punch cards with a paper game board, and the game pieces were very delicate. As such, it is hard to find them in mint condition. Swift Meats Major League Baseball previously sold at auction for $2,600.
Fox and Geese by the McLoughlin Brothers
Fox and Geese is an old hunting game from the Middle Ages. The McLoughlin Brothers released Fox and Geese in 1830. The Fox and Geese board consists of unequal sides rather than a traditional square or rectangle game board. The game of geese hemming foxes and foxes capturing geese is made of medieval leather. This game is precious due to its rarity, the intricacy of the pieces, and because collectors value the McLoughlin Brothers as game designers. The last know version of the Fox and Geese game sold at auction for $18,000.
Monopoly – Atlantic City by Charles Darrow
This handmade version of Monopoly is primarily credited as the first edition of Monopoly. The original version of Monopoly is hotly contested as many contend that Elizabeth Maggie’s version of The Landlord’s Game is the authentic original version of Monopoly. The Charles Darrow version was purchased by Milton Bradley in 1935 and became the game we all now know and love.
Darrow’s valuable board game version was round rather than being square, and each piece was handmade. Darrow drew the design for each card, such as Chance and the railroad cards, and his son colored each design. Soon, they made them for family and friends. Darrow eventually hired a printer to produce 5,000 copies of the game to sell to department stores. The last known set of hand-drawn pieces sold at auction for $147,000.
If you think you might have a valuable, vintage board game, you can learn more about the game at BoardGameGeek.
While it might be unlikely you would find the last two games on the list in a storage unit; you never know what treasure awaits you. Anything is possible in this business. Go to our website now to see what you can find. For more tips on how to determine the value of items you find in a storage unit, see our blog post, I think I found Something in a Storage Unit…How Do I Know?