How much is my Monopoly worth?

Most of you will have a copy of Monopoly of some form tucked away somewhere. Whether it’s at the back of a cupboard, on a shelf or in the attic. Before you dig it out for a post lockdown car boot sale check out the value of it. You could be surprised.

Borne from a board game devised by Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Magie called ‘The Landlord’s Game’ to promote the Georgist idea of a single tax system for land owners, Monopoly has gone on to achieve worldwide success, acclaim and has most probably caused more arguments than any other family activity.

Does anybody actually know and play by the correct and full rules?

Has anybody actually played a game to its completion?

The answer to both questions is ‘very probably’ as there have been, until now, 14 Monopoly World Championships which are held every 4 to 6 years. The most recent being held in Macau in 2015 and won by Italian Nicolò Falcone.

The original Monopoly game by Parker Brothers was a worldwide success, putting their stamp on board game producing. They credited a salesman as the sole inventor of the game. No mention of Ms Magie. The salesman became the first board game designer millionaire, but more about him later. More recently Parker Brothers was absorbed into Hasbro who have been the current producers since 1991.

So what is the appeal? Why is this game in particular deemed collectible by fans old and young? Well there are many intellectual properties used in Monopoly from cities across the globe, movie franchises like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, pop culture such as Only Fools and Horses, Nintendo and Fortnite. There are even copies which can be personalised to you and your family.

For collector Neil Scallan from Crawley in the UK, he started collecting copies of the geographical line due to his love of travel. He said in an interview that it was a postcard from places he had visited and worldwide destinations he would never be fortunate enough to visit. He achieved a Guinness World Record in September 2018 of the largest collection of Monopoly games and memorabilia with 2,249 items and his collection continues to grow.

Neil Scallan Guinness World Record Monopoly Collector. Image from safestore.co.uk

Waddingtons, a printing firm based in the northern city of Leeds in the UK, began printing playing cards in 1921 due to the demand for games played at home after the First World War. They acquired the UK rights to produce Monopoly in 1935 and strangely, despite being based in Leeds, they based the game on the streets of London.

Fun fact – Angel Islington is not a road. It actually refers to an old inn called ‘The Angel Inn’ in the Islington area of London.

So what is a copy of the game worth?

Do you remember Lizzie Magie who designed ‘The Landlords Game’ ? Despite having it patented twice, she sold the rights to her game to a heating salesman, Charles Darrow for the sum of $500. Much less than she had spent trying to produce it.  Darrow was the one to take it to Parker Brothers.

Lizzie Magie The Landlords Game

By 1933, and before selling his own tweaked version of Magie’s game to Parker Brothers, he had rewritten the rules and simply renamed it ‘Monopoly’. Darrow hand made 5,000 copies of the game, some of which are still in existence today.

In December 2010 one of these original copies turned up at in auction at Sotheby’s, New York as part of the Malcolm Forbes toy collection and sold for a staggering $120,000 (around £90,000).

For the French version of the 80th anniversary edition in 2015, Hasbro hid real money in variations of the game totalling a run of 30,000 copies in various forms. Different amounts were included and in one box all of the money was real – over €20,000!

However do not discount any copies of Monopoly you may own and would like valued. Sealed copies of the game will obviously be worth more, but are harder to find.

Collector’s Special Editions can be valuable even having been opened and played.

Look for:

  • Early editions of the game from 1935 with ‘Patent Pending’ on the box as they can bring in anything from £200
  • The last games produced by Parker Bros in 1991 were valued from around £1,500
  • The 1985 produced 50th anniversary edition is only expected to be worth around £50
  • The 80th anniversary edition had tokens from over the years represented and can fetch around £30 to £50
  • Look for early Waddingtons UK produced editions and 1994 editions before the ownership went to Hasbro
  • Older does not necessarily mean more valuable. The 2012 South Park special edition is pretty hard to find. Still sealed these can sell for hundreds of pounds due to the high demand

So don’t get caught out like Lizzie Magie. Do your research and contact us for a valuation.

Monopoly feature by Rob Edmonds.

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