Vintage Finds: Monopoly!

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A few weeks ago, we picked up this amazing vintage Monopoly game at an estate sale. We didn't know much about it at the time, but we knew it was cool!

According to Hasbro, Monopoly was invented in 1934, when a man named Charles B. Darrow showed what he called the Monopoly game to the executives at Parker Brothers. At the time, Parker Brothers rejected the game due to "52 design errors." Undaunted, Darrow and a friend (who was a printer!) sold 5,000 handmade sets of the Monopoly game to a Philadelphia department store. As demand for the game grew, Darrow couldn't keep up with all the orders and came back to talk to Parker Brothers again. This time, they accepted. In its first year (1935) the Monopoly game was the best-selling game in America. Over its 76 year history, an estimated 500 million people have played Monopoly!

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After doing some research, we've discovered that this particular Monopoly set was being produced from 1936-1939, and was the first version of the "Popular Edition." (Find out how we established that info here.) It's in great shape for being 72+ years old!

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It's all there... game board, 2 sets of instructions, chance and community chest cards, the deeds to properties, lots of the iconic Monopoly money, 2 sets of dice, metal play pieces (the thimble, top hat, shoe, battleship, car, handbag, and 2 irons!), and wooden houses & hotels with "Grand Hotel" engraved on them.

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It's amazing to think about how many generations of families have played Monopoly using this set.

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We were really impressed by how tangible everything in the set is - the game pieces are metal, the houses and hotels are made of wood. The craftsmanship isn't what we're used to from board games today. What's especially exciting (for me in particular) is knowing that the cards and money were produced using the same kind of printing presses that we use! Our 1921 Chandler & Price press would have been only around 15 years old when this set was produced! And it's so interesting to realize how little Monopoly has changed in design since 1936 - goes to show you that good design is timeless!

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There's something special about Monopoly. Everyone plays it as a kid. And even though few games are actually finished, we keep playing. It's nostalgic for us - and it's been nostalgic for a lot of people, for a very long time.

This vintage monopoly set has been sold.