Don's Game Closet
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Have you ever discovered a game in your basement, attic or closet that you used to play as
a child and wondered what it is worth today?  Or have you ever been curious about a game
you encountered that seems to be very very old?  The information in this article will help
you make sense of the value of your game.  

Where Does Your Game Fit in American Game History?
To better understand placing a value on a board game, it helps to
know the bigger picture of American games.  In his book, American
Games (2000), Alex Malloy describes five segments of American game
history as follows:

The Early Age (1744 to 1880) which began with the first American game
(a card game by Christopher Sauer) in colonial America and ends with card
games associated with American Reconstruction and the Indian Wars

The Golden Age (1880 to 1913) which starts with the development of chromo-
lithography which is used for multicolor printing of game boxes and boards and
ending with the McLoughlin Brothers (the largest game sellers of that time) selling their game line to
Milton Bradley.

The Silver Age (1915 to 1945) which begins with World War I and ends with the peace treaty at the
end of World War II

The Modern Age (1946 to present) which begins with the post World War II era involving the rise of
television and television quiz shows and ending in 2000
(or after the copyright date of this book)

The Simulation and Role-Playing Age (1958 to present) which overlaps with the Modern Age.

Collector Guide Books:  It is common for persons to seek out information on the value of
their games in collectors guide books.  Unfortunately, the values of Modern Age (see above)
games will often vary significantly from book to book, because it is too early to determine
an accurate value.  In fact, game values for this type of game can vary by as much as 300%.
For example, one book might quote a game value as $25, whereas another book might
quote a value of $75 for the same game.   Games that were published prior to the Modern
Age have had more time to reach a stable pricing point which allows values to be more
accurate in guide books.

Antique Game Value:  When discussing games, antique value is a term that usually refers
to a game that has been published for at least 60 years.  If we use the historical scale
above, this would be describing a game that was released or published in the Silver Age or
earlier.  As stated before, these older games have had a chance to gain some price stability
allowing for a more accurate determination of game value called the antique game value.
Contact the Association of Game & Puzzle Collectors (
AGPC) to learn more.    

Nostalgic Game Value:  People will often reminisce with family and friends about the old
board games they used to play when they were younger.  Shortly after such conversations,
there can be a desire to re-live these memories by purchasing one of these old games.  
This experience gives a unique value to this type of game, which is called nostalgic value.  
As the desire for this type of game increases, the nostalgic value increases as well.  This is
clearly evidenced when looking at the stronger competitive bidding for old board games on
eBay especially during pre-holiday season times.  Keep in mind, that older games that
were published in greater volume are often available at lower prices.   



Reference Books with price guides:
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Vintage Game Value?  Free Quote
from Alex Malloy's book, American Games © 2000
Board Games
1995 © Desi Scarpone
157 pages
More Board Games
2000 © Desi Scarpone
174 pages
Board Games Rev. 2nd Ed.
2000 © Desi Scarpone
160 pages
Board Games Rev. 2nd Ed.
2004 © Desi Scarpone
160 pages
2000 © Alex Malloy
346 pages