Boardgames are an ancient form of entertainment and there have been millions and millions produced throughout the ages. But there are some game boards that are worth hundreds of thousands – even millions! – of dollars for their rarity. Some are rare because of who owned them, some are rare because there were only a few produced, and some are rare because of a defect that sets them apart from the rest of their ilk.
As collectors ourselves, we love to look at rare boardgames and marvel at how much they’ve sold for. Here are the seven rarest boardgames of all time.
7. THE LANDLORD’S GAME FIRST EDITION
The Landlord’s Game is the prototype for the modern-day Monopoly. It was invented by game designer, Elizabeth Magie in 1906. She created the game because she wanted to educate people about the rental property system and how landlords were making bank while tenants lost out. She was a fan of the economist Henry George and based her game on his economic principles.
A first edition of this game is very rare and worth around $50,000.
6. MONOPOLY – HANDMADE SET FROM 1933
Charles Darrow is considered the inventor of Monopoly. In 1933, he made a prototype for his game out of oilcloth, upon which he hand-drew his images. There were more than 200 separate pieces, including the playing cards, character pieces, and rule sheet. He made around 500 copies of the game, but this is the only known surviving copy from his 1933 original batch. This game was sold at auction for $146,500!
5. CHARLES HOLLANDER ROYAL DIAMOND CHESS SET
Jewelry designer, Bernard Marquin, branched out to craft the world’s most luxurious games out of rare metals and stones. His Charles Hollander Collection was created in collaboration with thirty craftsmen. Under Marquin’s direction, they spent over 4,500 hours creating this chess set. The chess set is completely crafted by hand. Total, the artists used 1168.75 grams of 14-carat white gold, and more than 9,900 black and white diamonds – a total weight of 186.09 carats.
The Charles Hollander Royal Diamond Chess Set is now appraised to be worth around $600,000.
4. Art of War Chess Set
This is the second most expensive chess set ever created. The board is made of ebony and gold and it comes packed into a lockable, velvet-lined wooden case. Every chess piece is designed to reflect a figure from Chinese history and they feature a variety of precious stones like rubies, emeralds, diamonds, and sapphires.
The set was designed by Victor F. Scharstein. It was the work of his life and something he dreamed of creating for almost 30 years. It is valued at around $1,000,000.
3. CHARLES HOLLANDER BACKGAMMON
Bernard Maquin is at it again! He’s the only person to make the list twice. He created this backgammon set alongside expert jeweler Charles Hollander. Together they worked to evoke ancient Mesopotamia with 6.77kg of gold and 150g of silver. The backgammon pieces and board feature over 60,000 black, white, and yellow diamonds. It took 10,000 hours to craft by hand.
It is estimated to be worth over $1.5 million.
2. Monopoly – Sidney Mobell
It seems we just can’t get enough of Monopoly! Probably because it was one of the first modern family board games to sweep the nation. There are many very pricey Monopoly sets out there, but this game beats them all by several miles. Manufactured in 1988 by the famous San Francisco jeweler, Sidney Mobell, this board is truly one of a kind. The board is made from 23 ct gold and there are 165 gemstones embedded in the various pieces including, 60 diamonds, 47 sapphires, and 24 rubies. The dice on their own are worth $10,000!
This $2 million set was displayed in an exhibition in London and had to be escorted to and from the airport by a police escort!
1. JEWEL ROYAL CHESS SET
In 2002, a jewelry company called Boodles crafted a chess set that’s worth more than most people will make in their entire lives. The extravagant chess board is made from solid gold and platinum. The pieces are set with over 748 diamonds, 73 rubies, 146 sapphires, and a vast quantity of black and white pearls.
This opulent monstrosity of a chessboard is valued at $9.8 MILLION dollars. It’s the rarest and most expensive board game in the world – and it will likely never be played. Strange, and wonderful, and a little sad isn’t it?
If you’re interested in board games you can actually afford, contact Game Goblins! We’re here to help you find the perfect game for you and your family.